Donald Trump will begin leading this country in 11 days. Many people, including myself, are uneasy about the future of this country because he seems to totally lack compassion and cannot accept responsibility for his actions. Case in point is his reaction to being criticized by Meryl Streep last night for an episode that occurred while he campaigned across the country where he imitated a New York Times reporter with a chronic condition affecting the movement of his arms.

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It is interesting to see how Fox News defends such actions. They suggest in the video below that Trump uses this impression all the time to portray someone as incompetent.

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The problem is not the impression by itself. What he says to the audience is critically important. He actually says, “You’ve got to see this guy”.  He also draws his arm up and locks it much more so than in previous renditions. The point is that he clearly aimed to imitate the reporter and discount his article because of his disability. His basic message is that he disagrees with what this reporter has written and his supporters should too. He doesn’t suggest they actually read the article. Instead, he says they “have to see this guy” and upon seeing him with his disability and his affected arms they will laugh and point along with him.

So what would a good leader (person) do in such a case where people are upset by this message? I believe the right way to address people who I upset because of something I say or do is to first consider the possibility that I was in the wrong. Donald Trump seems incapable of such considerations. Whether or not I felt I was in the wrong, I would apologize for upsetting so many people. Whether or not I felt like I was at fault, I would apologize. Trump seems to equate apologies with weakness.  I would say something like, “I’m sorry that my gimmicks on the campaign trail upset you, and I will try to keep such gimmicks to a minimum going forward.” Instead, he reacts stubbornly by suggesting that it isn’t him who is wrong, but it is everyone who watches the video and perceives it as impersonating someone with a disability.

One person who perceived it this way is Meryl Streep. Here is what she said last night at the Golden Globes.

 


Her criticism of Donald Trump seem reasonable. She suggests that Trump shouldn’t make fun of others who he “outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back” because it only leads to people throughout society seeing bullying as acceptable behavior. How this is controversial I’m not sure. Why were we so concerned about Major League Baseball players injecting themselves with steroids and human growth hormones? Trump is basically Barry Bonds who I’m not sure ever admitted to using performance enhancing drug but certainly used them. The uproar over PEDs was due to the concern that their use would trickle down to boys at lower levels of competition who would view it as a viable means of succeeding. It is a fact that people look to their leaders and those who have succeeded in any particular field as models to base their own behaviors on. If young baseball players see PEDs as acceptable in the major leagues, they will start using in order to be like the pros. With Donald Trump making fun of a disabled reporter, people see this and emulate it hoping to be as successful as Trump.

What was Trump’s reaction the morning after?

Instead of considering opposing views of his actions, he says such people are sore losers who just can’t accept his victory. Instead of helping bring a divided country together by conceding that he has flaws and made a a mistake, he stubbornly says he wasn’t (in his mind) mocking the reporter. The fact is it does not matter what he claims. A lot of people perceived him as mocking the reporter. He fights their criticisms by suggesting their perceptions are at fault, so any criticism is invalid. He is a great model for authoritarianism, and it may not be long before the”authoritarianism” entry on Wikipedia includes Donald Trump.