When Brand Trumps Compassion

Impeached President Trump is more concerned with his brand then the Americans who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic including the more than 50,000 (at this time) Americans who have died.  Are the benefits of branding monetary or for building up a low self-esteem? Many people today seem overly concerned about building up their brand which is contrary to how I was raised.

I was admonished for bragging and being uppity and rewarded for being humble, modest and reserved as a child (I was not always successful and am still working on these virtues).  Consensus was the overriding dynamic of group activities and not domination.  But today, one can find a multitude of resources online for building up one’s personal brand.

One of the articles I found was Five Steps to Brand Yourself in 2020 by Tareq Samara on entrepreneur.com.  The five steps are as follows (the clarifications are a bit cherrypicked on my part, sorry).

  1. Upgrade your mindset – show off your true skills on social media.
  2. Define your expertise – even if you  have zero experience.
  3. Be everywhere – use all platforms even ones you hate.
  4. Share Knowledge – help everyone benefit from your unique experiences.
  5. Engage with others – attract more eyeballs and get recognized, get lots of views and followers.

It seems to me that some people who are trying to build their brand may be or become conceited, self-absorbed, arrogant, pretentious, egotistic, insolent, pompous, self-important, stuck up, vain, and self-aggrandising.  Sadly, these characteristic seem to squeeze out room for compassion, empathy, grace, kindness and concern for others.

The mindless pursuit of appearance, affluence and accomplishment should not trump authenticity, service and loving compassionate relationships with our fellow human beings, even the brand-less ones.  Find the balance and exercise compassion.  If you need to be out in front be a servant leader.




False Patriotism is Dangerous

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is experiencing backlash after announcing a stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Michigan is currently fifth in the nation with over 30,000 cases and 2,227 deaths making the order warranted in my opinion.

However, this past Wednesday, protestors gathered in Lansing to oppose the Governor’s order.  Many were wearing MAGA hats, some carrying “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, confederate flags, Trump/Pence flags, Nazi flags and signs about freedom and calls to lock up the Governor.  Most of the protestors were white people from the rural areas of Michigan and the majority were not using protective equipment or practicing social distancing during the demonstration.  It has been stated that this protest was funded and promoted by right-wing (reportedly wealthy) donors.  They have also been encouraged by presidential tweets.  They seem fueled by an exaggerated entitlement to absolute personal liberty while believing they are emulating true American patriotism.  When in fact they are engaging in phony or false patriotism.

They need to understand that personal liberty is not unlimited in the United States of America.  Personal liberty, according to http://www.merriam-webster.com, is the freedom of the individual to do as he pleases limited only by the authority of politically organized society to regulate his action to secure public health, safety or morals or of other recognized social interests.  Their sense of personal liberty is equal to that of a two-year old who has just learned how to say the word “no” and then has a temper tantrum when their refusal is deemed unacceptable by their parents.  Unlike the two-year old, the actions of these protestors is putting us all in danger.  They are acting irresponsibly and gambling with everyone’s health and well being including their own.

Edwin Lyngar writes in The Fake Patriotism of the Far Right that “Patriotism is about sacrifice and our shared humanity, while the best of America is about kindness, hospitality and benevolence.  Patriots stand up for truth, even when it hurts.  There is neither honor nor patriotism to be found in defending lies or deceit.”

Wrapping yourself in the flag and claiming you can do whatever you want whenever you want is not patriotic, it is just selfish, juvenile and outright dangerous.  True patriots sacrifice for the greater good, like my dad who served as an Army infantryman during WWII in Germany, like the essential workers who are putting themselves in danger to serve the rest of us during this pandemic.  During this time, true patriotism demands that you sacrifice now for the health and safety of all Americans so that we may have a brighter future together.  Don’t use your false patriotism to endanger us all!

Who’s essential?

A pandemic crisis clarifies who and what’s essential.


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Everyone has value.  We are all in this together.  Greed is not essential and believing you are more valuable or more deserving than others is not essential.  I tried to make a list of who is essential.  I started with farmers, farmworkers, truckers, grocers, clerks, cashiers, custodians, healthcare workers, educators, military, law enforcement, first responders, manufacturers and builders, transportation workers, bookkeepers, suppliers, warehouse workers, small business owners….  As you can see, the list of those who are essential is seemingly limitless meaning we all have value and deserve a livable wage.  Our nations prosperity needs to be shared by all who are essential and that means everyone because we are all essential!

Failure of Leadership in a Time of Crisis

Impeached President Trump craves power, but isn’t using it to protect us.  This self-proclaimed “war-time president” isn’t living up to his mental fantasies.   He needs to step up and federalize the production and distribution of mobile hospitals, medical equipment and personal protection equipment for first responders and medical professionals on the front-lines.  Our country is in crisis, a crisis that could have been less severe if it hadn’t been downplayed by Impeached President Trump causing us to be weeks behind in preparedness and prevention.

Impeached President Trump swore an oath to protect the Constitution of the United States which means us, “We the people.”  This affirms that the government of the United States exists to serve, and I might add protect, us.  And in the midst of this crisis, Impeached President Trump seems more motivated by his re-election chances than the health and safety of the people he swore to serve and protect.

Instead of stepping up, he’s allowing the states to fend for themselves causing bidding wars for equipment, for instance a seventy cent N95 face mask now costs seven dollars!  As a result, we are not getting what we need to survive this crisis.  Many will die unnecessarily due to the impotence of this feckless leader.  He has no clue how to be a war-time president!

He’s not a president, he just attempts to play one on TV.