The Lame-est Duck – Trump’s marginalization of the U.S.

The U.S. President is routinely referred to as ‘The Leader of the Free World’, a moniker earned through the deeds, actions and decisions of the previous Presidents who have made decisions that have altered the course of humanity. And now, even more so, we live in a world where we face complex issues that require a steady hand, an open-mind, and the strength of character to be able to see all sides of an argument.  This election cycle has offered two potential paths that will shape our future.  I believe that fomenting rage and creating a culture based on the blame of others for the problems we face is not a path to redemption and resurrection. It is a cancer that burrows in and corrupts the very heart of our democratic system.  But these tools of anger and blame are powerful forces, that motivate people while clouding their sensibilities.  We have seen fingers of blame pointed at group after group, person after person, country after country, and we’ve been told, ‘It’s their fault’.  We have been sold this bill of goods 140 characters at a time. We have been fed this rhetoric as a constant battering of wave after wave of twitter wars, antagonism and divisiveness. And now, we stand at the precipice.  Who are we as individuals?  Who are we as a nation? Who represents our personal ideals? Who will we honor with the responsibility of the Presidency? Those are the questions each of us must answer in the voting booth.

The United States of America is a world leader because it is involved in the world. We believe in human rights and self-determination, and freedom and opportunity, and we work with our partners to make these concepts a reality for everyone. The key is that we work WITH our allies. You can not lead from the back.  You can not command without respect. And you can not create change on an international level through obstinate demands and blame. And now, when we are called to lead even more, when the world needs an engaged presence, there are nations that we consider to be our closest allies, so offended by Donald Trump that they have openly debated over whether or not to ban him from even visiting their lands.   How can we expect others to respect him as a leader, and the U.S. as a nation, when he is not respected as a person? It is this issue that scares me the most.

lame_duckAccording to Wikipedia, a Lame Duck is an elected official whose successor has already been elected, and as a consequence, has less influence with other politicians due to their limited time left in office. I think we can simplify this definition even further to say, a Lame Duck is a person or entity, who for whatever reason, is unable to affect change. Four years is a short time period. But, it is one in which our foes and allies alike can ostracize, minimize and to a large extent, ignore the U.S. and our global interests unless we are actively involved.  It is a time that can be filled with drastic changes on a global scale that will have a lasting impact on the U.S. We can see this embodied in Brexit, Syria, Ukraine, the Philippines, Myanmar, Egypt, North Korea, the South China Sea, and on and on. To be involved in the conversation, you have to be invited to the table, and based on the ramblings he purports to be a foreign policy and his penchant for alienating people, it is my belief that a Trump Presidency will remove us from the conversation, and turn the United States into the lame-est duck on the world stage.

Political CHA-CHA and the Presidency – Character vs. Charisma

When you look for a leader, what do you want?  Character or Charisma? And what is it about this particular choice, character vs. charisma, that is so challenging?  In looking at this year’s election, for me, this has become the most important of choices.

 

We all know, a truly charismatic person is able to wrap us in the warmth of their ideas, manipulating us into acceptance, and motivating us towards an end.  Likewise, a person of great character is the reassuring figure that comforts us with the solid nature of their morals and ideals, sheltering us from challenges, and charting a clear path forward. History is rich with individuals who have embodied these attributes. The Dalai Lama is known for his character and humble approach to solving the world’s problems.  Adolf Hitler’s charisma galvanized a nation, drew it up from recession, and yet, led the world to war. But, I wouldn’t consider either of them to be good candidates for election.

 

cha_chaI’m sure we have all had someone in our own lives that is a great example of each of these traits.  I remember a high school  biology teacher, that was clearly brilliant, but was so devoid of character that the class simply became a time period to just get through.  I remember a high school history teacher that was so lively and animated that everyone wanted to be in his class.  And the class was fun, but I do not remember any of the content of the class.  And then there was Mr. Parker, my fifth grade teacher.  Here was a man that excited me about learning, established class rules for everyone to abide by, and demonstrated not only his command of the subjects, but also his ability to inspire each student to greater heights.  Whether it was through reports about the states (I did Hawaii), simulated government roles, or basic commerce, he found the way to inspire each of us.  He had both charisma AND character.  And much like the back and forth movements of the Cha-Cha, he was able to constantly adjust to guide us all forward.

 

When I look at who I want as a leader, I want the person that can inspire me to achieve the example that they have set.  When I walk into the voting booth and make my choices, that ability to dance across character and charisma, will be the determining factor on who gets my vote.  I didn’t omit the names of the high school teachers to protect them from criticism.  I left their names out simply because they were not able to make a lasting impression on me. But Mr. Parker, he did. And now more than 30 years later, I still remember.

 

Hey Mr. Parker!  Ever thought about running for office?