Can We Make Leadership Great Again?


This election cycle has turned out to be a rough one. The Republican debates transformed from fairly civil discussions into cringe-worthy, hilarious debacles reminiscent of an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The Democratic debates further point out the strong entanglement of interest groups in American democracy and ugliness in political competition. Politics is pretty depressing stuff. The reason why Stephen Colbert’s fanbase is so loving towards him is partly due to his political humor that comforts souls in times that seem so hopeless. The humor that Donald Trump provides may actually be a good thing. As a college student, I’ve learned that distracting yourself from actually solving your problems and getting work done is great therapy. Trust me. I would know. However, it doesn’t seem like a good reason to vote for Trump, and I highly doubt it’s the reason why he has so many supporters.

Through this year, it’s become apparent that candidates with a lack of substantive stances on issues can become really popular. For the case of Bernie, arguments railing against financial politics resonate with many voters. In a similar manner, this is also an explanation for why Trump is getting support. Denizens are convinced that the campaign has not been relying on donations. But… what Bernie has is a genuine sense of good character and some serious swag. (Like for real! He’s tight with Killer Mike and Run The Jewels!) What Trump has is a different kind of charisma that’s often seen on playgrounds.

The events publicized from Trump rallies really emphasizes the types of people his supporters are and why they seem to like him. Protesters have been taken out of rallies and Trump has consistently made insulting remarks against them. This lack of decency has been admired and loved. A recent viral Facebook post from a young, self-described Bernie supporter from North Carolina who wanted to have a laugh at a Trump rally was appalled by the hatred he observed and the admiration at Trump’s unprofessionalism. Recent reports from CNN describe violence at rallies as sparked from supporters of Trump. Hatred keeps spewing through conflicts between protesters and rally attendees. And Trump seems to be content with all the chaos and concrete division he is creating. Trump wants to be the strong man. His supporters are the kind of people that would respect that one guy who’d take lunch money and make fun of people for personal profit. There’s an impression that hostility represents strength, and sometimes this is true, especially in an environment like middle school. But it’s not true in the real world, where hostile leadership leads to failure.

For example, Bashar al-Assad is a hostile leader who has created a definitive system of order, but due to the lack of respect towards all of his people, his nation of Syria has turned into something horrible, to say the least. Another good example of bad, hostile leadership is pre-revolutionary France, an empire that abused the working class and encouraged the creation of societal divisions. This hostile leadership was stable for centuries only until the idea was conceived that abusers need not be in control of a government anymore. This idea of revolution is already conceived in the current world, and the creation of societal divisions is only going to create more conflict and problems. Although to be frank, Trump is probably not going to run an authoritarian state or a monarchy—he is a good example of the kind of person who would not make America great again. Ironically, he’d make it worse again by encouraging the perpetuation of old social divisions. Bullying and hostility are major sources for cliquey-ness in high schools. A real leader isn’t the kind of guy who’s spent his entire life perfecting a method to be the world’s greatest schoolyard bully.

A real leader is someone willing to have sense of balance between decisiveness and an open mind. A real leader brings ideas together to create an establishment that will work for the best. Hillary Clinton brings this perspective a little too far by including a lot of interest groups in her political decisions, and I don’t want to say that strength is a bad characteristic for a leader to have. My high school principal had little strength, which allowed NHS to be removed from our school since parents complained about their children not being accepted and also allowed a cheating student to be removed of guilt from her violation in order to avoid a possible lawsuit from wealthy parents. A lack of strength in leadership allows for unethical students to get into Berkeley and allows for bullies like Donald Trump to control the world. A leader needs to have a sense of confidence and a genuine consideration to work together with those being led. The leader that brings together all sorts of perspectives in society creates the most fruitful product. The success of America after the Great Depression came about from bringing together all sorts of groups in society by creating programs such as the New Deal. Putting the schoolyard bully in charge just keeps us divided and keeps the status quo in place. And that’s not making America great again. Sadly, that’s what a lot of people don’t understand.

However, luckily, I do live in America, where it’s impossible for an executive to completely control my life. But, despite that we are in an election cycle that my mom describes as “the worst Presidential election she’s ever seen,” there is hope out there. As Kendrick Lamar says, “My knees gettin’ weak and my gun might blow, but we gonn’ be Alright!” I hope. I’m actually cynical about that. But “Alright” is definitely a dope song.



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