Donald Trump, the now 45th President of the United States of America, is known for the many unpopular comments and statements which he made during the 2016 US presidential election campaign. Such was the nature of these comments and statements that many dismissed him as being unfit for the nation’s highest elected office.
Against all odds, Trump made it to the White House. To many, it became questionable that he would have been so fortunate, given that his rival, Hilary Clinton, had handsomely beaten him by getting more of the popular vote. The irony of this, however, is that democracy is said to have been at work under the Electoral College system practised in the USA.
There is a lesson to be learnt from this. Usually, persons find it difficult to accept unpopular decisions, but it must be understood that once the rules are followed, then complaining can hardly be justified. Many of the utterances from Trump were neither pleasing to the ear, inspiring and or motivating. As a matter of fact, some of his utterances leaned more towards dividing the nation rather than uniting it.
Two of his outrageous but softer quotes which have been captured are:
“I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me – and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot people and I wouldn’t lose voters,” was the second outrageous remark.
The extent to which these negative comments could have helped Trump as a leader to achieve his goals in a multi-racial society, is worth pondering on. Sensible and smart politicians, trade unions, business and civil society leaders ought to pay close attention to the things which Trump has said so as not to make the fundamental mistake he has made in creating tensions around him, that may make his job even more difficult than he may have envisaged.
Government and societal organizations all cater to the will of the people and/or interest groups which they serve. The leader’s popularity will last as long as the interest of the constituents is being served. In approaching the start of the year 2017, leaders of governments, trade unions, business and civil society can take away something positive from Donald Trump’s utterances. His popular statement of “We will make America great again” ought to resonate with all leaders.
With many of our institutions/organizations failing the people, with expectations and confidence being eroded, it is timely that a focus is placed on making the country and its individual institutions and organizations great again. There must be a greater commitment on working together, respecting the role and contribution of each individual institution and organization, and the making of required sacrifices, in the cause of a better life for the people of the nation and individual constituents.
The building of bridges, mending of fences, building of relationships, eliminating of turf wars, refraining from the use of divide and rule tactics for whatever purpose they may be intended, and desisting from giving preferential treatment, would be the way to go if the making of a country great again is to be achieved.
Despite his off-the-wall utterances, President Trump now has the expectation of fulfilling his action plan, which he described as: “Number one, I’d create economic zones. I’d create incentives for companies to move in. I’d work on spirit because the spirit is so low. It’s incredible, the unemployment! You look at unemployment for black youth in this country, African American youth, is 58-59 per cent. It’s unthinkable. Unemployment for African Americans – not youth, but African Americans – is very high.
“And I would create in the inner cities, which is what I really do best, that’s why when I open a building and I show you it’s way ahead of schedule, under budget and everything else. I think it was the Rite Aid store, the store in Baltimore, it took them 20 years to get it built, one store, and then it burned down in one night. We have to create incentives for people to love what they are doing, and to make money. And to create, you know, to really create a better life for themselves.”
Recognizing that at the heart of any plan is the delivery of it, then it ought to be clear to him that only inspired leadership will get the desired success.
(Dennis De Peiza is a labour management consultant. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)