Hate, Fear, and Hubris…
Posted April 20, 2016on:
My life is one big exercise in connecting the dots. Can’t help it, that’s just the way I’m wired. I’m always looking for data points where trends can be sussed out from the shadows. This primary season is a treasure trove of such data points. Here’s the conclusion presented: Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are running the same campaign.
The data points don’t include the campaign slogans – Trump’s slogan of “Making America White Again, One Deportation at a Time,” or Sanders’ slogan of “America: Here – pull my finger.”
The similarity doesn’t revolve around hair – the “thermonuclear comb over” versus the “great rat’s nest migration.”
Likewise, you can’t plot a data trend from policy positions. If either of these men venture beyond stock stump speeches they know absolutely nothing as is evidenced by the Sanders New York Daily News interview and, well, every time Trump opens his mouth.
There’s no hint of evidence in their early careers because Trump didn’t have to work due to his father’s money and Bernie just didn’t work until he was 41.
But, there is one thing paramount and central to both their campaigns.
It’s hate focused on different groups, but it is hate nonetheless. Trump engenders hate against “otherness”. Sanders’ hate focuses on economics – not character, but characteristics.
Both Trump’s and Sanders’ hate also have geographic focuses – one at the border and the other, Wall Street.
Both their hate springs from fear and ignorance. The fear arises from falling on the wrong side of a zero sum game and the ignorance stems from failing to realize flourishing in this life isn’t bound up in facile equations.
Both Trump and Sanders possess a vindictive streak about a mile wide running through their souls. The subtext of their campaigns is that people should be hurt and hurt badly enough to teach them who’s the boss. In other words, they both would let someone drown to teach them they should have taken swimming lessons.
Trump believes eleven million families must be shredded in order to satisfy the vindictiveness of his hordes of angry, fearful know-nothings. In 2008, Sanders proudly voted to send the economy into an irreversibly dangerous free fall toward depression in order to maintain his “absolutist” theory of no compromise.
Both these men have a theory that government exists for the meting out of pain to those who fall outside their narrow philosophical parameters – not empowerment, but ostracism. I’ve been waiting for one or both of them to come up with a new use for Gitmo – either as a deportation station or a new government getaway for errant Wall Streeters.
Along with the hate and the fear, the other and most consistent data point is the total and absolute hubris with which they both conduct themselves. Their hubris seems to be its own siren song and the only one they hear. They fail to appreciate that hubris and equanimity are incompatible.
The absolutism with which they see the world – the cocksure conceit in the way they brook no divergence of opinion belies a lack of leadership temperament. Entertaining no other opinion is fine for worlds too small for egos other than their own. We don’t live in such a world.
It is amazing that both Trump and Sanders have identical reactions when defeated. Their reaction to losing: The system is flawed and it is rigged. They are all too eager to don the bonnet of victimization. It seems to fit them all too well.
The answers in the Trump and Sanders data points are simple: Haters always gonna hate, the fearful always shrink, and those enamored with themselves are too busy for others. The antidote for hate, fear, and hubris is forgiveness, but the weak can never forgive.
Trump and Sanders will never be burdened with understanding or exhibiting forgiveness.
They would do well to learn from Hillary’s strength.
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