I’m a camp counselor this week. Actually, I am one of the mentors for the Counselor-in-Training program. We train 16-18 year olds to be wonderful, caring and loving counselors so that their 3rd through 8th grade campers can have one of their best weeks of the year.
During this morning’s workshop, we covered the staff manual and I couldn’t help but think of Mr. Trump when we went over the section on bullying. From the manual:
“Types of bullying: There are three broad categories of bullying.
1. Direct physical bullying e.g. hitting, tripping, and pushing or damaging their property.
2. Direct verbal bullying e.g. Name calling, insults, homophobic or racist remarks, verbal abuse.
3. Indirect bullying – This form of bullying is harder to recognize and often carried out behind the bullied student’s back. It is designed to harm someone’s social reputation and/or cause humiliation. Indirect bullying includes:
– lying and spreading rumors
– playing nasty jokes to embarrass and humiliate
– encouraging others to socially exclude someone
– damaging someone’s social reputation and social acceptance
– cyber-bullying, which involves the use of email, text messages or chat rooms to humiliate and distress.”
I don’t feel I need to present examples of things Donald Trump has said, tweeted, or done which identify him as a bully with respect to these criteria. Many of his supporters will claim that what people call bullying is actually one of the things that they admire most about Mr. Trump – an end to political correctness.
Call it what you will, Donald Trump fits the definition of direct verbal bully and indirect bully. He has also encourages direct physical bullying to the extent that some of his supporters have acted on Trump’s words to physically assault protestors and others who disagree with the candidate. Let’s not forget that he has also stated that he wants to hit certain people for statements they have made.
The fact that some of his supporters will take action on what they believe he is telling them to do is why there was such an uproar over his comments yesterday that hinted “the Second Amendment people” may have a way to stop Hilary Clinton. A potential interpretation is that gun owners who consider the Second Amendment to be the most important issue should shoot Ms. Clinton. He didn’t say that specifically, but that is not the issue. Some of his followers may interpret the statement that way and act on it.
So Donald Trump is a bully – or as some of his supporters prefer to think of it, a crusader against the insidious policy that is political correctness.
Now, do we want a bully for a president? Some of his supporters do, and they want him to bully others on their behalf.
Who? China, for one. They want a President Trump to bully other countries so that the good jobs come back to the United States and they can again work those low-skilled, high paying manufacturing jobs of the 1960’s-1990’s. There are two flaws to this logic.
1. While China and other low wage countries were the likely places for companies to move manufacturing facilities in the early 2000’s because of low wages and barely existent regulation, other than some currency manipulation to keep the costs low, the countries are not to blame. It was the companies who moved the jobs, not the destination countries.
2. Those low-skilled manufacturing jobs don’t really exist anymore. There are plenty of high-skilled jobs available without enough people to fill them, but most of the low skilled jobs have been replaced by technology, both in U.S. manufacturing and in plants abroad.
Conceivably, a bullying president could threaten other countries to raise the value of their currencies, and that may hasten the pace of repatriation of manufacturing facilities, but the new plants in the U.S. will not employ many low-skilled workers. Additionally, the shortage of high-skilled workers means that manufacturing companies will likely petition the government to allow for imported workers under a similar visa program that is used by technology companies to bring programmers to work in the U.S.
So, while a bullying president may be able to increase the rate of manufacturing growth in the U.S., there will be a substantial cost to those who do not possess the skills to work in the new, high-tech facilities.
Costs of higher foreign currency values:
1. Inflation will increase because prices on imported products will be higher,
2. There will be more foreign workers in rural areas where new plants are often built, which may increase racial tension,
3. Reduced regulation could mean more water and air pollution from manufacturing facilities,
4. It would be more expensive for foreign travelers to visit the United States, and consequently, there could be a significant drop in vacation spending from abroad and a loss of low-skilled jobs in the tourist industry,
5. Similarly, housing prices may drop in some locations that are popular for foreign investment (Miami, New York, Hawaii, etc.).
Other potential costs of a bullying president:
1. Much of the international agreements that keep the world safe and secure are accomplished through negotiation. I suspect it would be very difficult to bully countries into international agreements because the bullying itself is a large negative to be overcome if an agreement is to be reached,
2. If the United States is perceived by other countries as a threat because of the bullying language of its president, we may find those countries working together to counter U.S. interests in the world,
3. The camp counselors of the world whose job it is to nip bullying behavior in the bud – the United Nations, World Bank, etc. – will generally rule against the United States in disputes because of the bullying,
4. As a result of what our political leaders will interpret as unfair treatment of the United States, we may pull out of the United Nations and become more and more isolationist, which we would find even more economically damaging because there will likely be high tariffs which will reduce international trade for the U.S.
My vote. I don’t want a bully for a president. I do not feel it would be good for the United States or the world. Also, it’s part of that camp counselor mentality. I just want everyone to get along, and that means stopping bullying before it can cause damage.