They’re not all called Rex but they certainly are all wrecks. For the majority of them it is wrong that they should be. The boss picked them, he was meant to run them cohesively not fire them whimsically. As an exercise in managing other people Trump has shown us how not to do it in spades. Is he simply playing out his TV Apprentice role? What other purpose does he have in appointing and firing such eminent people so recklessly? What example is he setting for those who report to a boss? Does his behavior lead to better productivity? What is he playing at?
Those more in the know than me say it is all ego, that he is interested only in himself and how he can be glorified – if necessary by others being denigrated. ‘If it were so, it was a grievous fault’. But will Caesar, sorry, Trump, answer grievously for it? I’m beginning to think not. Much depends on the outcome of his North Korea adventure. And for Pompeo that will mean everything. It’s like being promoted to Lieutenant and given a nuclear bomb to handle. Don’t do a Pompeii, Pompeo.
Trying to wring a laugh out of the Trump performance is getting more and more difficult. Tragedy is always comedy looked at in the right way but the illusion doesn’t last forever. The scam of excessive politics is creeping all over the world. Italy is the latest victim, Ukraine looks like being a repeat case very soon. Russia is clearly far advanced. Soon we shall take a monkey out to dinner to test the food first. But none of this has to do with Trump, does it? Well, yes, actually it does.
You cannot say that example is the greatest lesson we have in life and ignore what Trump’s behaviour is potentially doing (a) to the young and impressionable (b) to democracy itself. Peer into any system or process we humans have invented and you will see that it works when used moderately and with common sense. Our basic standards of civilised behaviour are a prerequisite to making democracy, finance, adversarial law, welfare, politics and diplomacy work.
Those basic standards come from parents first and most, from teachers next and significantly and from leaders third and critically. The conduit for influence by leaders is the media. Media have a big responsibility but it does not extend to rewriting what leaders do and say. Media do indeed have an influence – but not as great an influence as those who create what they report.
Why has excess been allowed to become such a dominant feature of our lives while moderation has been pushed into a background, almost supine, role? Why must violence be assumed to be the only effective tool of reform? Two main contributors to the answer are access and speed. Almost everyone in the world now has access to media that by virtue of their technical complexity command a certain awe which is often mistaken for respect. We rightly marvel at the technology of the social media. It is mind-blowing in its ability to connect us with news at lightning speed.
Access and speed should be assets in helping us progress towards safer, more comfortable lives. In many spheres they are. But for life to be more comfortable we have to understand what is happening to us. Today’s speed of progress makes that impossible for most people. That frustrates them and concerns them to a point which is even more distressing than the promised comfort of the new discovery.
The average person sees a five-yearly opportunity to register a vote as poor substitute for more proactive and vociferous behaviour. S/he see leaders behave recklessly and conclude that the only effective say they can have is by imitating that bad behaviour as best they can.
It is often said that we get the leaders we deserve and I am sure there is some truth in that. But now we are progressing too fast. Important appointments are made and unmade too quickly – one White House appointee lasted about ten hours. Trump was in top form that day.
It is time to make a concerted effort to slow the rate of progress, to once again attend to the fundamentals of our life on earth and to examine what makes – and will maintain – a human being as the greatest invention of all time.
Every traffic policeman knows that excessive speed kills. Let us reduce our speed and avoid ending up among the debris of Trump’s wrecks.
Our children’s future will be better assured by that than by any other lesson.