I’m going to get political here and I’m going to say it. Donald Trump is a bully. He’s a jerk. He’s sexist. He’s racist. He’s a liar. But somehow people love him.
I have an idea about why.
You should know that this is based on my observations in middle schools. That shouldn’t surprise you since Donald Trump acts even less mature than most middle school aged boys I know. Much less mature, in fact.
We all remember the bully, don’t we? That one person who would make fun of other kids for a laugh. That one person who would systematically target a weaker kid and turn the other kids against him. When we were kids and saw this situation, we had to make a choice – stand up for the weaker kid, or join the bully. It’s usually a safer bet to join the bully because then you don’t risk becoming the next target. We have all done this – it’s part of growing up, figuring out who we are, learning what’s really important.
Fast forward through high school, college and into adulthood. We are all rational adults, right? We know who we are and we would all stand up for what we believe in, right? I’m not so sure.
Our culture is fixated on the anti-hero. A list of the top TV shows of the past few years reveals something that we all should think about. Some of these characters are evil, others are simply unlikeable – Don Draper, Walter White, Dexter Morgan, most of the casts in Game of Thrones, Girls, Orange is the New Black, VEEP, House of Cards… I could go on. Why do we continue to watch these shows? Why do we care?
We watch these shows for entertainment value, right? But, what if it has gone further? What if by watching so many horrible decisions we have become immune to it?
What I’m trying to say is that we’re still that kid in middle school who chooses to side with the bully instead of standing up for the victim. We have become so desensitized to the fact that bad people actually are bad. We now look at a bad person and have to question whether or not they are bad, funny, misunderstood, or something else.
I imagine that many of the people who support Trump do so because of this dynamic. He’s saying horrible things, and people need to make the choice to either laugh with him or fight him. He’s reckless with his words, and people are eating them up.
Will he become the Republican candidate? Quite possibly. Will he become our next president? I quite hope not. I have faith that those Republicans who lean more to the left will help prevent that from happening.
I’m not sure our country could survive a Trump presidency. Other countries will shun us. Money will be wasted on wars and walls. We, as a country, will solidify our role as a powerful global bully.
Let’s all work together to not let that happen.