Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.
Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether in the next few years, a revolution in the US is still possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US. Most recent sense check, Entry #332. An update coming later in December.
If you want to a diversion, there are two easy-to-read booklets you might want to read. One is about my experiences working with Lee Iacocca after he left Chrysler. Another describes some behind-the-scenes events affecting development and introduction of the GM EV1, the first modern electric vehicle. The third is a longer booklet about the coming technology tsunami and the implications for the US.
Entry #364 Begins. The coffee shop this morning was unusually quiet. When getting a coffee, the clerk, aka barista, and I were chatting. After a comment I made, she responded, “You know I’ve learned not to talk about religion or politics. People can make whatever choice they want, but I don’t need to hear their wrath about why they’re right and people with different opinions are wrong.”
Her comments were a segue to a discussion about where and how people get information. (I said the shop was unusually quiet.) We both expressed frustration that many people no longer make an effort to get credible information about a topic and use such information make a more informed decision.
That short conversation was the stimulus for this blog entry. Is it realistic to expect that people are willing to change behavior and seek more credible information about a topic? Based on the reaction of many this past week to the impeachment of Trump by the House of Representatives, probably not.
Given the likely resistance, why try to change anyone’s mind? Maybe a better approach would be to ask people to do what they think is right. If you were or are a parent, or if you were a kid at one point, which includes most of us, would the behavior of Trump be allowed?
As a kid, were you allowed to make fun of people with disabilities? Allowed to insult others publicly? Allowed to lie about issues who knows how many times a day? If you were, then your childhood was unlike any I’ve ever heard about.
So if we won’t tolerate such behavior in children, why do we tolerate such behavior from a president? Why do we allow the person who is supposed to be the role model for leadership to act like a bratty, spoiled 6 year-old kid?
Maybe the best way to get Trump to change his unacceptable childlike behavior is not insult or shame, neither of which seem to work, but resort to action my father took when I was a kid. My father was in the bathroom preparing to shave. Using a shaving brush, he was applying soap to the left side of his face.
I, too, was in the bathroom. What I said to him I don’t remember, although apparently he thought it was inappropriate. What I do remember is right after making the remark a shaving brush was partially inserted in my mouth. The brush was quickly removed and my father proceeded to finish leathering his face. No words were spoken, but the effect was immediate and obviously long-lasting.
By the way, shaving soap tastes awful. When I tell the story the taste comes back. Yuck!
Maybe someone should take the same approach when trying to get Trump to behave with more civility – wash his mouth out with soap. Nothing else seems to work. When they’re finished washing out Trump’s mouth, they can travel over to the House of Representatives and wash out the mouths of a few members.
Back to the barista. While she might not want to discuss religion or politics, it is very likely that sometime during the holidays at least politics will enter the conversation. To avoid a family feud, here’s an idea. When the conversation turns to discussing Trump, gently interject yourself and state, “I’ve got a couple of questions I’d like to ask.” Then proceed with:
“Assume everything about the Trump presidency is the same. All the executive orders, all the appointments, all the tweets, the insults to foreign leaders, the cozy relationship with Putin, the dichotomy of a growing economy and a growing Federal deficit, treatment of immigrants and children, etc. All that remains the same. The only thing that changes is rather than Trump being a Republican, Trump is a Democrat.
- For Republicans, would you continue to support Trump if he were a Democrat?
- For Democrats, would you continue to be opposed to Trump if he were Democrat?
Question 2. if Trump were your child, would you tolerate his behavior – the tantrums, insults, swearing, and generally bad manners?”
Now, you can sit back and enjoy the conversation. Your questions might not get anyone to change his/her mind, but it just might get people to start thinking about real issues and understanding what those issue really mean for the country. And, if you can people to start thinking, that will be a major step forward for the new year.