frustrated, frustrating and … well … sad
but Charlottesville sad!
President Trump tweet
“… disgusted, and everyone needs to do better than this infantile bullshit because I for one have had it with senseless hostility … it’s not activism, it’s not in support of anything, it’s nothing but sickness and cruelty. I’ve had it with people behaving like … animals.
Get it together and grow up.”
Your opinion is not my reality.
The last couple of days in America have been sad days.
There are some real douchebags out there in the world and sometimes it seems like their little douchebag club is growing.
On the front lines of this douchebaggery are the ones who marched on Friday night <the “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia> with torches.
On the front lines of is douchebaggery are the members of the KKK, neo-Nazis, and other armed militia groups who walked the Charlottesville streets on Saturday adorned with Confederate flags and in full Nazi regalia.
To me … these are people who want to see the world burn.
To me … these are people who don’t really give a damn about a larger sense of humanity but rather only seek dominance.
To me … these are the people who, quite disturbingly, showcase the trappings of 1930’s Nazi torch bearing marches and KKK torch bearing gatherings … in other words … they reflect the trappings of a miserable point in history and humanity.
It certainly doesn’t help that the President continues to showcase an extreme pettiness, an extreme lack of cultural & society insight and an extreme inability to articulate the most basic accepted norms of a civil society … which encourages douchebaggery.
All that said.
While I am a relentless critic with regard to President Trump’s lack of leadership skills I will not be today. Yesterday I just saw a man who is what he is and you just cannot ask more of someone who is just capable of who and what they are.
He will never be inspirational. He doesn’t have an inspirational bone in his body. And you know what? That’s okay.
It’s frustrating to watch <because I want more>.
It’s sad to watch <because I expect more>.
But what is most frustrating from a business guy’s perspective <me> are the missed opportunities. This administration misses opportunity after opportunity to … well … lead. They miss opportunity after opportunity to forward their own message in a ‘unity’ type way.
It is frustrating because while I don’t think Donald J has one inspirational bone in his body, that he is painfully transactional and his sweet spot is vague divisiveness … I do believe he could stand by his message and do so in a way that can … well … appeal to some of the greater aspects within America.
He is what he is. His ‘tone & message’ instincts are horrible.
He is much more comfortable, and better, at delivering a divisive message than he is offering a uniting, or unity, message <simply saying “unity” or “we should be united” is kind of cost of entry simplistic “sure … whatever” type verbiage>.
He is much more comfortable, and better, at delivering a self promoting message <what he has done, how good he is and hyperbole offered in a fantastically third person way>.
In general he is, 95% of the time, incoherent and rambling and, the worst of all, vague. Vague is horrible the majority of the time but in a moment which people seek clarity it is the worst because more often than not it falls on ears as platitudes and creates spaces in between for people to second guess and find what they want to hear.
When forced out of his ‘vagueness’ comfort zone he uses words like he is checking boxes.
I would argue that his most important speeches are a reflection of how he runs his businesses – technically within the lines. He uses many of the right words but they always seem to edge along the razor thin line of right versus wrong. One of Trump’s most effective defenders on TV, conservative Ben Ferguson, is spectacular in his technical defense. He takes Trump words and places them on a blank piece of paper and says “what is wrong with these words?” or “we should view these words literally.”
Well played on his part.
I have two words for him – Fresh Eggs.
When I was at J Walter Thompson one of our most famous presentations was called Fresh Eggs. Client after client we would take a couple of minutes when discussing communication and how to effectively communicate thoughts to show them ‘Fresh Eggs.’
Simplistically … I can design the words ‘fresh eggs’ with some fancy font perfectly art directed on some computer graphics program and print it off … or I can take a battered piece of water stained cardboard and hand paint Fresh Eggs on it.
The same words placed in completely different context communicating two different ‘feelings.’
That is the difference between a Trump technical pragmatic delivery of some words and words well delivered.
It would behoove Ben, as well as Trump administration speechwriters & advisers, to think about that a second.
All that means is that Trump offers his speechwriters and advisors ‘negative space.’ Spaces in which you shouldn’t ask him to offer words or thoughts. That is okay. If it were me … I can deal with what I know and can see. It is the shit I don’t know and can’t see that kills me.
And this is where I focus my criticism. The speechwriters and advisers. They know the negative space and are intimately involved with it. In addition they know that there are certain “moments” which provide opportunities for the president. The opportunities don’t have a rhythm nor do they arise according to plan but opportunities are opportunities and you either seize them or lose them.
They need to recognize that Trump will instinctively gravitate to his ‘positive space’ any time he can. For example … in his Charlottesville ‘speech’ he gravitated to his positive space which is not only tone deaf but shows a complete lack of linkage to anything and everything he has said before:
The president, in his responses, bemoaned that the clashes were happening when “our country is doing so well in so many ways”, citing low unemployment and the renegotiation of trade deals. He noted: “We have so many incredible things happening in our country, so when I watch Charlottesville, to me it’s very, very sad.”
How could his advisors have missed he would naturally do this?
He has been the ‘carnage’ king. America is in a shithole and it is up to me to fix the shithole Obama put us in. He has been saying this for almost 2 years. Charlottesville was a perfect example of his self-proclaimed shithole that he, and only he, can pull us out of.
I would have given him some words <because I know this is his positive space> to exploit his whole shithole narrative.
I think Trump is a horrible hollow leader but even I need him to do well and I would give him words to do his job well because … well … country above any individual.
His advisors and speechwriters are failing him in that they seem to not be able to bridge what he is capable of doing to words which make America see what they are capable of.
Trump and Charlottesville are intertwined. I am not suggesting he is solely responsible for things like Charlottesville but I will suggest, as president, I want him to assume personal responsibility for Charlottesville.
“I think that what we are witnessing here has always been simmering beneath the surface, and now has been emboldened and enabled by the Trump administration’s politics and rhetoric.”
Steve Thomas, from Lynchburg, Virginia, who also protested against the far-right groups
He needs to understand that he is supposed to be the face of America and that what he says, or doesn’t say, reflects the … well … face of America. This is the burden of his responsibility. He needs to understand that his words really do matter and that:
- We seem to have no problem, as a country, condoning violence by black people.
- We seem to have no problem, as a country, condoning violence by Muslim people.
- We seem to struggle a bit, as a country, to condone violence by white people.
I know what Trump was trying to say but the way he said it made it sound like, in America, all ideologies are created equal. That neo-Nazis have as much right to exist as anyone else and it is only when they are violent that they become abhorrent.
I personally don’t think he, and his advisors, should act surprised that a lot of people find that unacceptable.
I am not a speechwriter but I do offer some words I believe he could have said which would have captured his empty platitude-like thinking with regard to America but still offered some real nods to real issues that we real everyday schmuck-like Americans should be thinking of.
<offered in as many Trump-like words I can stomach trying to offer>
Instead of offering what will now be referred to for history as the “many sides speech” I would have offered an “all lives smatter” speech.
I would like to take a minute and talk with Americans about Charlottesville because this is bigger than Charlottesville and it is not something we can ignore nor should we ignore it.
Our constitution is a beautiful thing which should not be used for ugly things.
Freedom of speech does not mean freedom of violence.
Freedom of speech doesn’t mean the one who shouts the loudest or tries to ‘look the most powerful’ is the rightest or the ‘winner.’
Freedom of speech is freedom to use words, not fists and bottles and carrying shields and clubs.
Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom to hate but freedom to listen, argue and find opportunities to love and unite despite disagreeing.
I condone freedom of speech but do not condone, in the strongest possible terms, violence and hate using freedom of speech as an excuse.
We lost 3 lives today.
One person using their freedom of speech and two people who were serving to protect freedom of speech.
I offer you three words today.
All lives matter.
That doesn’t mean black people do not have real issues we need to discuss.
That doesn’t mean white people do not have real issues we need to discuss.
That doesn’t mean any race, religion, gender do not have real issues we need to discuss.
No person should be forgotten and no issue should be forgotten.
We, as Americans, should be united if not simply because:
- All issues matter because all Americans matter.
- All issues are important because all Americans matter.
- And all issues should not be forgotten, should be heard and should be discussed … because all lives matter.
This weekend, what we saw in Charlottesville, is wrong. It is bad. Not just because there was violence, not just because there was bigotry and hatred but because it was an example of where it seems like everyone, American citizens forgot to understand and believe that America is great because Americans believe all lives matter.
We forgot all issues matter.
We forgot hatred has no place in what makes America great.
I stated on day one I would stand for the forgotten American. And today I stand in front of you to say that I will stand for the forgotten Americans, all Americans, and the forgotten & ignored issues … but I will not stand for violence, bigotry and hate.
As your president I will stand for all lives and all issues.
I say that as today we had gathered here in Maryland to discuss that all veterans lives matter and their issues mattered enough that we did something.
<something like that>
Note: this maybe took me 15 minutes to scribble out … it isn’t right but, surely, a professional speechwriter could offer the President something similar & right, don’t you think?
This weekend watching Charlottesville was … well … just bad. Just as I stated when discussing some of the Trump campaign events … it isn’t what America s supposed to be. That doesn’t mean it isn’t what America is … but … I tend to believe it is not what we want to be.
I wanted someone to have the moral fortitude to stand up and say “America, stop. Starting today we need to stop violence and start talking civilly. Start admitting all colors, genders, races and religions have issue they want to discuss, and should be heard, and stop denying everyone has a voice at the table.”
I am frustrated the Trump administration misses opportunity after opportunity to offer us not only the high road but the light to show us a better way.
But yesterday put a period on my belief that Trump is what he is … and we should stop expecting something that he is not.
It is what it is.
And now it is up to the people around him to accept he is what he is and provide him the proper tools, words & thoughts <which he cannot come up with on his own>, so that we will be … well … make America great.