The innocence of the ignorant

The recent social media argument over Meryl Streep’s remarks on Donald Trump’s mocking of Serge Kovaleski has got me thinking…

In her Golden Globe speech Meryl Streep claims:

…there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good; there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh, and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out of my head, because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life. And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kinda gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose…

Donald Trump responded in an unfortunate and all-too-common fury of tweets:

Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a…..
-Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9th, 2017
Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never “mocked” a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him…….
-Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9th, 2017
“groveling” when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media!
-Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9th, 2017

These tweets are a plea for innocence, an ignorant plea for innocence. Mr. Trump has convinced himself that his behavior is acceptable while many liberals disagree. Unfortunately for Mr. Trump, and most of the conservative nation, they refuse to see the other side of the argument. They are ignorant, and such ignorance is problematic.

A few days ago I came across this book titled, “Don’t sweat the small stuff” by Dr. Richard Carlson. After glancing through the book, I came across a chapter on how to treat people when they are giving their opinions. The author suggests that, regardless of a person’s attributes, we should listen and treat people as if they are enlightened. Let their voice be heard, respect their thoughts, and listen to their words. Then ask questions, assuring that you fully understand their opinion. Once you fully understand their opinion then you can adjudicate the similarities and dissimilarities between your opinions. Without taking these steps, we infinitely speak past one another and neither voice is heard. No one ever wants to admit, “you’re right and I’m wrong.” However, it is most likely the case that both opinions are right in their own regard and something can be learned from each opinion.

Mr. Trump does not seem to take the time to listen to other people’s opinions. He is ignorant. He feels innocent. He wants Meryl Streep to admit that her behavior was disrespectful, and wrong. However, his tweets are incendiary and disrespectful to Meryl Streep as an individual and much of the nation that agrees with her. This behavior and many of Mr. Trump’s actions in this regard are unacceptable for a leader, and results in equal disrespect towards said leader.

In order for a politician (and anyone) to conduct their job effectively, they must be able to listen to their advisers and the people they represent. It is my current belief that Mr. Trump does not listen. I am therefore uncomfortable with him helping to make decisions in the White House, and I think much of the nation agrees.

I hope that when Mr. Trump takes the office in the coming days that he listens to his advisers and the people, treats them as enlightened, and admits that his personal opinions must sometimes be pushed aside for the greater good. If change and progress is what we want then we must all listen and give up our ignorant ways, especially those in roles of leadership.