By Fred Utanes
I would like to voice my condemnation of the worst ideology that the world has known, which emerged more than five years ago when Donald Trump campaigned for the presidency of the United States of America and, unfortunately for Americans and the world, came into power.
It is sad to witness close to half of the American voters blindly embracing amorality, sheer conceit, and isolationism, among the many other nauseating attributes to describe this cult. It is simply mind-boggling to watch a massive following of a lunatic philosophy called Trumpism—that caused the death of five in a mob uprising that assaulted the US Capitol and brought about the demise of more than four-hundred thousand in the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary has yet to include this word, “Trumpism,” unlike Wikipedia. Which already has an astute discourse on it. In a future article I would like to analyze in detail this word classified as a “political ideology, style of governance, or a political movement.”1 For now I would simply take up the hatchet against this type of belief that allows a so-called leader to wallow in outright self-centeredness, indecency, untruthfulness, unprofessionalism, lack of human dignity, disrespect for one’s fellowmen, replete with lust and malice, shortsightedness, and absence of wisdom. I openly commit to going against this vexation to the human spirit.
In this, I am not alone. The American general and statesman Colin Luther Powell; Jim Mattis, also a retired military general who at one time served as White House chief of staff; and former chief of the U.S. Central Command, Joseph Votel, all detested Donald Trump for many reasons, not the least of which is the inability to make decisions rationally following a well-studied process reinforced by intelligence gathered in the field.2,3,4If a supposed leader only follows his or her emotion without the use of data but rather shoots from the hip or flail at an imagined enemy in the air, there is no better adjective to describe him than simply stupid (I don’t usually use that word but in this case I have no choice.)
Trump Stalks America
When Joseph R. Biden took office as American president in January 2021, many people had hoped that Donald Trump would be convicted in a second impeachment trial, or that the would-be tyrant would quietly retire in Florida and stop terrorizing crisis-ridden America. I myself had been praying that at last there would be a return to civility in the highest office in American politics that would, in turn, result in a more equable global situation, as there would be one less enemy of truth and dignity in Western democracy. We were all wrong though.
In late February 2021, only one-and-a-half months after Trump’s second impeachment trial, it was shocking to realize that Trumpian insanity continued to thrive. At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) the irresponsible narcissist again went on stage and lashed out at the Biden administration.5 In his decadence he showed no regard to the unwritten rule that a successor president should be given a chance to complete his first 100 days in office before criticizing it. The reckless despot delivered his ridiculous lies again, reading from a teleprompter, twisting and turning his head his head left and right like a drunken rooster. Even more bewildering was that the audience gave him a standing ovation. Birds of a feather flock together.
Why am I so preoccupied with Trump and Trumpism? This is because I have a calling. After more than 30 years in the corporate world, I decided to give back to society by serving the youth as a lecturer in a small school in Singapore. It has been ten years since that shift in my profession. The college where I teach aims to shape young minds into professionals and leaders in the service industry. This industry, particularly the hospitality, travel and tourism part of it, is riddled with bullying due to the misguided guidance and examples of so-called managers and teachers of some schools that are influenced by cynical notions—the very notions that characterize Trumpism. Thus the lack of values that characterize Trumpism, the utter disregard for the dignity and rights of others, and the drive to take advantage of others with impunity—must be rejected and opposed wherever their presence and influence are detected. We must not allow Trumpism to inspire and rationalize oppression by autocratic superiors in the workplace.
Lessons from a Lifetime of Experiences
I base these views on my personal experience. I underwent military training, served in the navy and was a military instructor for 13 years before I joined the private sector. All my life experiences taught me that the transformational style of leadership works far better than its notorious opposite. I believe that the opposite concept, transactional leadership, can only work in life-and-death situations. It never works duringTr peacetime. And there is no question that the transformational style is what the majority of humankind prefers, whether in the workplace or at home, in the community or anywhere else where there is a need for a leader responsible for the welfare of others.
I am fortunate that my experience in leadership and management began at early age. In spite of the skepticism of my superiors in the armed service and later in the private sector, I pursued a compassionate yet firm leadership style. It worked for me, as well as for many other managers and leaders of my time. It worked in the past and in works especially well today in this age of high-speed technological advancements. Giumpven that experience, I can only be passionate in my rejection of and opposition to Trumpism.
This is by no means the last time I will argue against Trumpism. Many may be offended: after all, 74 million voted for Trump, although 81 million preferred Biden.6 I would like to align my views with the Lincoln Project and other “Never Trump” organizations if only to contribute, no matter how modestly, to erasing this ludicrous philosophy from the face of the earth.7 This menace has a grievous impact on global affairs, including on Singapore society. Without being offensive and overbearing, I have been offering these views in my numerous classroom discussions. Students respond well. I firmly believe that planting the right seeds in the minds of the young is the way to go. Hopefully, Trumpism does not contaminate the souls of our children, our grandchildren, and my young students from various other countries who will in time influence the lives of others.
Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of PinterPolitik.
1Trumpism. (2021). Wikipedia.com Retrieved 13 March 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trumpism#:~:text=Trumpism %20is%20a%20term%20for,Trump%2C%20and%20his%20political%20base.&text=The%20term%20has%20been%20applied,movements%20in%20other%20Western%20democracies.
2Cole, D. (2020). Colin Powell: Trump has ‘drifted away’ from the Constitution. CNN. Retrieved 14 March 2021, from https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/07/politics/colin-powell-donald-trump-protests-cnntv/index.html.
3Westwood, S. (2020). Former White House chief of Staff John Kelly: ‘I agree’ with Jim Mattis on Trump. CNN. Retrieved 14 March 2021, from https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/05/politics/john-kelly-agrees-with-jim-mattis-on-trump/index.html.
4Bowden, M. (2019). Top Military Officers Unload on Trump. The Atlantic. Retrieved 14 March 2021, from https://www.theatlantic.com /magazine/archive/2019/11/military-officers-trump/598360/.
5Smith, D. (2021). CPAC: Trump to make first post-White House speech at rightwing summit. Retrieved 14 March 2021, from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/feb/27/donald-trump-cpac-speech-2021
6Opinion | Here’s Why 74 Million Voted for Trump. Nytimes.com. (2021). Retrieved 14 March 2021, from https://www.nytimes.com /2020/12/03/opinion/letters/trump-voters.html.
7Peoples, S., & Slodysko, B. (2021). How a leading anti-Trump group ignored a crisis in its ranks. Retrieved 14 March 2021, from https://apnews.com/article/john-weaver-lincoln-project-crisis-b14be5f06588b8f1d78125d4141394cb