Trickle Down Hatred and Contempt
Trickle down hatred and contempt. Is it real? Is it being used to control us? Where does the buck stop on this issue, or more importantly, where does it begin?
We have all heard of trickle down economics, but what about trickle down hatred and contempt? Can a leader set the stage and simply, imply by their action or non action, that they will tolerate hatred and contempt of a specific group in order to further their own agenda? Can negative comments by a leader regarding specific groups of people influence how those people will be treated or seen by others? Should the president of the United States be representing only the portion of the public that believes as he does? How do our leader’s comments and actions influence the level of tolerance or acceptance exhibited by the American people?
The International Journal of Leadership Studies released a study by Diane J. Chandler from the Regent University School of Divinity, United States, titled, “The Perfect Storm of Leaders’ Unethical Behavior: A Conceptual Framework”:
“We can and do condemn the actions of leaders who decide to lie, belittle followers, and enrich themselves at the expense of the less fortunate.” Unethical leadership behavior is, therefore, defined as the organizational process of leaders acting in a manner inconsistent with agreed upon standards of character, decency, and integrity, which blurs or violates clear, measurable and legal standards, fostering constituent distrust because of personal interest.
“Unethical behavior and its persistence must have a catalyzing starting place, a tipping point moment that prompts all subsequent unethical behavior, similar to the vortex of a tornado drawing everything into its fury.
"Unethical charismatic leaders select or produce obedient, dependent, and compliant followers. Consequently when leaders deviate from ethical norms, compliant followers tend not to critique leaders’ decisions, since leaders are considered to be the standard bearers for moral conduct. The downside of charisma concerns possible negative consequences, including abuse of personalized power, the nurture of blind loyalties, and the inhibition of any criticism.”
Since the beginning of the Obama presidency, many of his speeches have resulted in great condescension towards Americans who disagree with his policies. Obama has claimed that Americans who don’t agree with his administration on climate change are "a fairly serious threat to everybody’s future,“ and "we don’t have time for a meeting of the flat earth society." In another speech, "You go in to small towns in Pennsylvania and it’s not surprising that they get bitter, they cling to their guns and their religion." In another, "Ideological extremism and maximalist position is much more prominent in the Republican party.” Obama has made negative inferences regarding Fox News on more than one occasion, and a top official in his cabinet called Netanyahu a "Chickens–t.“ In a ‘hot mic’ moment, Obama was caught calling tea party members "dangerous extremists." Is calling out those who disagree with his policies the proper behavior for the President of the United States? Are those who disagree, really a threat to society, racists, naysayers, flat-earthers, terrorists and extortionists?
When the president demonizes groups that disagree with him is he encouraging the mistreatment and exploitation of these groups? Do his comments influence and encourage the press and his public supporters to treat members of the tea party as extremists, small town Americans as crazy and christians as religious fanatics? Is it right for the President of the United States to single out members of American society for disdain, ridicule or potential retaliation?
In June of 2013, according to a Rasmussen report, one in four voters who supported Obama reported believing that the tea party was the biggest terror threat to the United States. The most surprising aspect of this poll was that one in four believed that tea party members were not only the biggest threat to the United States, but a bigger threat than terrorists.
What about the race card? Has the president and his team used race as a tool to garner support for their policies, elicit votes or basically stir up opposition and in turn create more racial divide?
In October, in the Review and Outlook section of the Wall Street Journal, it was said:
"All this brings to mind a young presidential candidate named Barack Obama, who warned in 2008 that Republicans would play the race card. "They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. ‘He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?’” he told a rally. Mr. Obama won, and won again, but that hasn’t stopped Democrats from rolling out that same racism charge at any opportunity, using it in particular as a tool to drive minority turnout in elections….But Democrats do themselves no credit and the country no good by playing up racial divisions for partisan ends. Alas, they’ll keep doing it until voters stop rewarding them with votes.“
Are there still racial issues currently in the United States? As long as there are people in the world, there will always be differing opinions and therefore discrimination against many races and religions. However, in the United States, we have made giant steps towards resolving these issues since Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement. In 2008, we elected a black president. According to exit polls, President Obama did better with white voters than the past 2 democratic nominees, John Kerry and Al Gore. However, even with such great support from whites, Democrats still blame racism for the downward spiral of support for Obama. Did every white person who voted for Obama suddenly turn racist? Or could it possibly be attributed to a failure in his policies and the continued stagnation of the economy and job creation among other heated issues?
In his recent speech to the UN, Obama compared the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson to the situation the world faces with ISIS. Does this place mis-founded ideas about racism over and above the threats by ISIS? Do his comments supporting Michael Brown over the police, prior to the completion of an investigation, cause distrust of our police by other communities, therefore encouraging unnecessary protests and dissension?
Does Obama’s silence on the slaughter of Christians around the world, represent a trickle down condemnation, and therefore, without words, send a message that Christians are no longer a group that we, as Americans, should support?
Ben Carson a pediatric neurosurgeon, and current candidate for the 2016 presidential election said, "We need to understand that we are not each others’ enemies in this country. And it is only the political class that derives its power by creating friction. It is only the media that derives its importance by creating friction…that uses every little thing to create this chasm between people. This is not who we are……I think one of the keys to leadership is recognizing that everybody has gifts and talents. A good leader will learn how to harness those gifts toward the same goal.”
Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.”
Have we allowed a president, because of the color of his skin, to step over the line and judge all Americans by their political or religious beliefs? Have we allowed race and political correctness to blind us from seeing the purposeful division that has polarized our country? Has the President of the United States chosen to be judge and jury and systematically punish those who disagree, according to his rules and the content of his character?
As Americans we must not allow our leaders to use polarization for their own political ends. We must work towards a common goal and find solutions to make the country stronger. Having an open mind and listening to all sides is a true sign of maturity, broad mindedness and tolerance. If we can all learn to co-exist and attempt to understand the position of others, instead of demonizing those who think differently, the country will be able to heal itself. If you preach tolerance, and expect other to be tolerant, then you must be tolerant yourself. If you preach divisiveness, then you must expect divisiveness from others, therefore prohibiting the very tolerance we all so desperately want.
We must recognize, that when we support leaders who use polarization to their own political ends, then it will, one day, be our own beliefs that will be at the receiving end of the trickle down hatred and contempt.