By Jackie Finley
President Trump recently stated that the United States is the laughing stock of the world. He is right – we are. We’re not, however, in our disgraceful position due to lack of border walls as he erroneously claims. Rather, we are humiliated due to his shameful personal behavior and his frightening incompetency as a national and world leader. The sad fact that many Americans still cheer at his ego-inflating “pep rallies” also contributes to our diminished national reputation. Blind to reality and not accepting that he doesn’t care about them – another tax cut for the wealthy is coming down the pike – his supporters add fuel to the fire that we are a country with little integrity, depth of understanding, or even a sense of public decorum.
One of my oldest friends is an English woman with whom I have corresponded for decades. Matched up in adolescence through an international pen-pal program, I’ve stayed in close contact with her, visiting her and her husband when in England. I recently asked her to give me her honest opinion of the current American political situation and to also reveal how she feels other British citizens view the Trump administration and its antics.
I didn’t realize how much of a burden I had placed on her until she told me she had wrestled for weeks about how to provide the information I had requested without sounding offensive or anti-American.
Following are some comments she made about Trump: arrogant, rude, racist, a bully with no idea how to lead or inspire, and a blatant liar. She further commented that she feels he enjoys inflicting pain and conflict, and she questioned whether he has a mental illness. (As a retired teacher and school administrator, familiar with childhood pathologies, she posits that Trump might suffer from Oppositional Defiance Disorder, aka ODD.) My friend states that her views of the current American political state echo throughout Britain. Aside from a few neo-fascists, the vast majority of Brits is appalled at Trump and his supporters, and is baffled at what my friend refers to as the downfall of a once great country. While Obama was generally admired and respected, Trump is viewed as an imbecile.
Take a hard look around the world. What few “friends” the United States still has are generally not the type of friends we want. As the old saying goes, “A man is judged by the company he keeps.” The U.S. is not keeping good company, and the rest of the world knows it. It is a mere shadow of the country it used to be and still should be.
Competency is crucial for effective leadership. Character and integrity, however, are critical, too. With little or no personal respect, a leader is hard put to command political power or wield any influence. A president such as Trump, who belittles and offends at the slightest perceived insult, is no leader. People around the world, from top politicians to the average “guy or gal” on the street, recognize this fact. He is being written off by enemies and allies alike as, at best, a buffoon, or at worst, a legitimate danger to world stability.