After a week of conflict with someone I love and hold dear, my feelings about Donald Trump are even stronger. That may not make much sense to you now, but I hope it will as you read further.
I’ve always hated conflict and have done what I can to avoid it. But in the last few days, I’ve realized it’s not conflict itself I don’t like, but the KIND of conflict that, upon disagreement, turns angry, sarcastic and disrespectful.
For the purposes of making my point, I don’t need to go into a lot of detail. But, I will say, as is often the case, this particular disagreement/conflict/argument began over something small, relative to how it turned out.
- We disagreed on how (or even if) a project should be done.
- Because of this person’s past reactions to conflict, as well as my aversion to conflict, I may not have communicated as well as I could have about the project.
- As a result, I received a sarcastic, cutting email about how the matter was being handled.
- Against my better judgement, I replied more assertively than I typically do, in defense of myself and others.
- This began a downward spiral of correspondence filled with criticism and expressions of anger and resentment.
Classic “unhealthy” conflict resolution.
It stings that this could happen with someone I love. However, I’m guessing you, too, have seen this kind of reaction to conflict, at least on social media, where an expression of opposition about something–politics, religion, race (you get the picture)–can lead to a roller coaster ride filled with vitriolic thrills and spills. I take that back. It’s not really a roller coaster ride, because it only goes downhill.
And that brings me to Donald Trump, the bloviating billionaire who loves himself and his money far more than he loves this country.
Here are some of his more publicized quotes:
- “When was the last time anybody saw us beating, let’s say, China in a trade deal? They kill us. I beat China all the time. All the time.”
- “I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me —and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
- “If I were running ‘The View,’ I’d fire Rosie [O’Donnell]. I mean, I’d look her right in that fat, ugly face of hers, I’d say, ‘Rosie, you’re fired.'”
- “We build a school, we build a road, they blow up the school, we build another school, we build another road they blow them up, we build again, in the meantime we can’t get a f—— school in Brooklyn.”
- “I saw a report yesterday. There’s so much oil, all over the world, they don’t know where to dump it. And Saudi Arabia says, ‘Oh, there’s too much oil.’ Do you think they’re our friends? They’re not our friends.”
- “Free trade is terrible. Free trade can be wonderful if you have smart people. But we have stupid people [in office].”
So, what does Donald Trump have to do with the conflict I had this week?
We’ve become a nation of bullies. We seem to have lost our ability to negotiate, to resolve conflict, and therefore, it’s not okay to disagree. If you don’t think the same way someone else thinks, you may be berated, criticized, chastised, called names.
We don’t discuss the issues themselves, because we (and the media) are too busy sensationalizing the emotions surrounding the issues. Worst of all, we only “win” if we come out on top.
Sure, it’s entertaining to cheer on a “fresh voice” who, rather than conducting himself as a serious and thoughtful candidate, displays his television persona. But he’s not vying for CEO of a corporation. He’s running for President of the United States.
How will Trump work with others in government and around the world? He’s not a king or a god, even though he talks like he thinks he is. In reality, he will have to work within the framework of the Constitution, no matter how “right” he thinks he is. What will the leaders of other countries think about negotiating with a president who is only interested in winning the “battle,” a president who will use every weapon of snide insults within his vast arsenal?
The conflict in my own little world, between two people who love each other, spiraled downhill fast. Things were said that may never be taken back, which damages any opportunities for negotiation–not to mention, relationship–down the road.
I can’t imagine what Trump’s idea of conflict resolution would do to our already-hurting image around the world.
No amount of bullying will resolve conflict. No amount of bullying will
“Make America Great Again.”