The first thing I noticed about candidate Trump was his use of overly simple language. His limited vocabulary was highly unusual for a presidential candidate in my opinion and experience. He also lacked the decorum that I was accustomed to for such a person. Even though, I was perplexed by such behavior, I assumed it was part of his campaign tactics. However, now that I have experienced over a year of his presidency, I have come to learn that President Trump is no different than candidate Trump in matters of language and decorum.
It has become apparent that the President is not a student of history, democracy, the Constitution or the rule of law. As a result of this lack of knowledge, he seems to have a simplistic world view in which his gut instinct allows him to dismiss the inherent complexity of decisions and situations. He likes to be the smartest person in the room and he achieves this by dismissing all the experts and surrounding himself with sycophants. For me, it is very stressful to have the leader of the free world using his “gut instinct” with complete disregard for knowledge while making decisions that affect me and the entire world. However, others like this hip-shooting swashbuckler that ignores norms.
I am going to call this the “Harrison Ford Effect.” Most everyone loves the scene from the Indiana Jones franchise where Indy is frantically running from bad guys through the crowded market when the crowed splits to reveal the big man with the really fancy sword moves. Indy, at the sight of this unbeatable foe freezes for just a moment and then pulls his revolver and shoots him. Everyone cheers as this highly accomplished swordsman is taken out by a simple bullet. Again, most everyone loves when Han Solo (Star Wars franchise) blasts the intercom in the deathstar when he fumbles for words as he is trying to feign being a stormtrooper. After he blasts the intercom, he says something like “…boring conversation anyway,” and then shouts “…we’re going to have company!” These two scenes demonstrate our admiration for heroes who survive by using their gut instincts. But this is the movies and it is not concerned with the unintended consequences of thoughtless decision-making. In the real world, innocent people are hurt by rash decisions.
The Wall, the Muslim travel ban, the ban on transgendered service people, moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the tax cut that creates trillions of dollars of debt for our children, withdrawing from the Paris Agreement and the Iran Nuclear Deal, changes in tariffs and trade, DACA delays and the North Korea talks can affect and have adversely affected many people of the world including Americans, yet were seemingly implemented with little thought. The greater consequences of these actions are yet to be seen. The complexity underlying all these changes was seemingly ignored. These decision were not meant to be made by one person, but by a collection of the best and brightest the United States has to offer.
The President’s narcissism prevents him from conferring with experts and his reported diminished cognitive ability that is apparent in his decreasing use of higher-level language over the last few decades hinders his ability to make critically important decisions requiring complex thought. These rash decisions in the North Korea denuclearization talks resulted in the characterization of the President as a possible Nobel Prize winner one week to being Charlie Brown when Lucy is holding the football the next week. We all know what happens!
The President wants to implement the promises that he made to his base, but is unable to consider the negative consequences of such changes. He needs to know that IT’S NOT THAT SIMPLE! He must surround himself with people who do know and make considered decisions.