[Editor’s note: Originally posted on August 6 2015. The only thing that has changed since then is that Trump’s behavior has become even more brazen, rude, crude, and bullying only to see his poll numbers rise as he continues to be revered by his followers who don’t care what he says or does.]
Like a petulant spoiled child who expects to constantly be in the spotlight, Donald Trump has gotten on this mom’s last nerve. After my many years of working with children, he is a reminder that there is always that one.
There is always the kid who disrupts the class, bullies the others, and dominates on the playground with his posturing and name-calling. For those children who misbehave, there is the time-out chair — that isolated corner where wayward children sit and think about what they have done and, hopefully, learn from their mistakes.
If Donald Trump were a child, he would have been put in the time-out chair.
The Washington Post’s Michael Gerson looks at some of the behavior that Trump has used on the presidential campaign trail (see A GOP led by Trump will fail, and deserve it):
[As adults in the room] Rick Perry, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio come to mind — delivering thoughtful speeches. But in portions of the Republican field, the normal limits of civility have been crossed and recrossed in the relentless search for viral attention. … Donald Trump, well, opens his mouth. His opponents are invariably “clowns” and “stupid” and physically ugly. He mocks a war hero and reveals the cellphone number of another candidate.
He mocked military veteran John McCain’s five years as a prisoner of war during Vietnam. And his poll numbers went up!
At a time when we as a country fight to stop bullying in our classrooms and on playgrounds and in the streets, a portion of the electorate is embracing that very behavior … for president!
Is anger removing civility? Gerson wrote:
[Trump] is a megaphone of resentment against elites and foreigners who are ruining our country, taking our jobs, raping our women or eating our lunch. And he promises to fix it all.
“I don’t care what his actual positions are,” says supporter Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks. “I don’t care if he says the wrong thing. He says what’s on his mind. He gives honest answers rather than prepared answers.”
This is the cult of spontaneity taken to its logical conclusion. In choosing a president, policy positions are held to be irrelevant. [emphasis added]
Even evangelical homeschool leader Michael Farris is stumped, writing on Facebook, “Are we out of our ever loving minds?”
Gerson summed up his thoughts on Trump’s candidacy and behavior:
I know that incivility is immoral and dangerous to democracy. People of faith in particular are called to speak and act on the assumption of shared human dignity. This does not rule out vigorous disagreement, but it forbids the cultivation of contempt and the issuing of threats.
I know that Trump is encouraging political fantasies. He is not preparing people for difficult choices, on, say, entitlements; he is assuring them that our problems could be easily solved if elites were not so corrupt. And he is wrong. Our problems are not easy.
And I know that the success of Trump would be the downfall of the GOP. Any party captured by rage and resentment will fail, and deserve it. Republicans should stand for responsible reform, not reckless populism.
During the Revolutionary War, according to historian Ron Chernow, George Washington had two officers review all of his speeches and much of his correspondence to make sure he avoided hasty language and off-the-cuff enthusiasm. The distance from Washington to Trump is not merely change but descent.
The beginning of the Republican debates is tonight. Will Trump play nice in the sandbox? Stay tuned….