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.”
Word and Amen!
Thank you, Linda. 🙂
I couldn’t agree with you more! And I speak with the voice of experience, having alienated–it looks like permanently–a dear friend, with harsh and unconsidered words delivered in email: a medium that exacerbates the injury inflicted by intemperate language.
My advice to you–for what it’s worth–is to institute a cooling off period, with of course the agreement of the other party. My experience has been that to push for an early resolution can stir the emotions and set conflicting views in concrete.
Regarding The Donald, and notwithstanding that the less said, the better, someone has to say dumb stuff, and who is better qualified?
edquixote, you’re right about The Donald being the best qualified to say dumb stuff.
Your words hit home and I was glad that you shared this. I lost a dear friend to a difference of opinions when Obama first ran. I understood that being a liberal from California makes me stand out here in a small town in Oklahoma, but I didn’t know this person would be so offended because I voted for who I believed in.
You’re so eloquent in your words, and thank you for sharing.
Thank you, Julie. Isn’t it hard to believe that political differences could tear apart a friendship? Unfortunately, the conflict I spoke about was a little more involved than a difference of political ideologies, but any conflict that tears two people apart because of how it was handled is sad.
Jan, I agree with you on all points regarding this candidate. I’ve had differences of opinions with loved ones recently about the suitability of Trump and made the exact same points you illustrated so well. I’m worried about our country precisely because so many seem to have rallied behind him, people I know and love in that crowd, and I can’t understand why.
Thanks, Madison. It’s hard for me to believe so many people don’t see this. We live in a reality show these days.
I am sorry that conflict has hurt a friendship for you, Jan. It’s too bad that speaking out honestly about something so important caused such friction, but there are times when we must speak our minds, no matter the results. Donald Trump is a joke that we must not have played on our struggling country. That is my opinion, for what it’s worth, but I will not argue it on FB or in email. You know why? When we write our words are easily twisted. When we manage to speak face to face, we often get the best results. Seeing body language and facial expressions are ways of communicating that get the best results. Hope you can settle this conflict with your loved one. Losing you as a friend would be a great loss, in my opinion.
Thanks so much, Velda. I agree completely. So much is lost when we try handle “deep” discussions by email, FB, Twitter or text. We need to get back to our old-fashioned ways. 🙂
I agree. Conflict has indeed been sensationalized by news and social media. And a president has to lead the PEOPLE, not just the percentage that voted for him. I am also sorry a relationship has been torn.
As for negotiating, yes, it should happen but in certain cases, it is pointless and distracting…
Pingback: Politics and Relationships: How to Love a Liberal | Jan Morrill Writes