President Donald J. Trump’s view of the world appears to be that of one who sees himself as better than the other. His treatment of those with whom he disagrees demonstrates a lack of human concern and compassion. Trump’s indifference — his casual exhibition of undignified speech and behavior paints the picture of a thoughtless, cruel, and heartless bully.
The danger of Trump’s penchant for playing kakistocratic politics with hatred and bigotry is far-reaching. That is, whenever a person plays politics with elements that veer from normative and cultured behavior, such action imperils civil conduct and reasoned discourse — threatening our very democracy.
It is undeniable and unfortunate that Trump’s rhetoric arouses the worst thoughts and passions within certain segments of the population and emboldens dark, sinister, and self-serving ideologies that foster a climate of intolerance, division, and violence.
While many would agree that Donald Trump’s character needs an overhaul, at the center of all the criticisms lies the reality that there is a bit of Donald Trump in all of us.
Within each of us, there are self-absorbed and narcissistic tendencies. There is a part of us that is compassionless, unkind, and unsympathetic. We often go about our daily lives uninvolved and unmoved by the plights of others. There is a part of self that wishes to identify only with the things that will enhance one’s life as opposed to others’ lives.
It is not enough, therefore, simply to decry Donald Trump’s rhetoric of hate. It is also not enough to point fingers and condemn Trump while at the same time justifying and normalizing our own thoughts and behaviors as if our way of being should be at the forefront of change and become the elixir for the masses. Furthermore, being consumed by bitterness and angst because of another person’s choices is not a solution.
The starting place for change ought to be a thorough examination and cleansing of our internal person. We must acknowledge the part of self that is antagonistic toward the actions we deem as intolerant, thereby, making us the embodiment of the thing or person we wish not to be.
Do we as a society have the right to judge and correct people when they are acting out the worst version of themselves? Indeed, we do. Even so, our shared humanity should be the criterion employed in calling out injustices against fellow human beings.
I am of the mindset that if every person directed his or her energy, in word and deed, toward some great purpose — trying to build a better future versus tearing down, then humanity would move closer toward living in peace and harmony.
Featured image: Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images, Thinkstock.