Thursday, September 29, 2016

Toxic leadership...

Several times on this blog, I have written about toxic leaders.  More than once, I have described a certain leader Bill went to war with, a man who got off on publicly humiliating his subordinates, especially the women.  I have also described my husband's marriage to his former wife, a woman I believe, but admittedly cannot prove, is a full blown narcissist.  Having observed these people and how they have affected Bill and other people, I have become very sensitive and wary of narcissists.  Unfortunately, a lot of them end up in leadership positions, where they have the ability to make life a living hell for innocent people.

This topic comes up again today due to a story I read yesterday about Miss Universe 1996, Alicia Machado.  I posted about Ms. Machado on Facebook and a lively discussion started, with several people-- mostly males-- not knowing what the big deal is about Machado's claims regarding Trump.  In the interest of clearing my mind, I'm going to write here about why I think Alicia Machado's story is so important to note and why Americans should be very concerned about a possible Trump presidency.

In 1996, Venezuelan Alicia Machado was nineteen years old.  According to Wikipedia, she's 5'7" tall.  When she won the title of Miss Universe, she weighed about 118 pounds.  During her reign as Miss Universe, Machado gained some weight.  Donald Trump, who had just purchased the pageant at the time, was upset about Machado's weight gain and publicly confronted her.

Trump and Machado on TV in 1997.  He actually doesn't sound too bad on this particular clip.

In 1996, I lived in Armenia and was halfway through my Peace Corps service.  I received a lot of news magazines during that time and well remember Machado being profiled in People or one of the other magazines I received.  I also remember hearing about how Trump forced Machado to work out in a gym in front of the press while he called her names and claimed she'd gained 60 or 70 pounds.  He also apparently threatened to take her title away from her, though he never did.

Machado claims that in the wake of Trump's public scolding, she developed an eating disorder that has taken years to get under control.  Personally, knowing what I know about eating disorders, I seriously doubt that Trump's abuse alone was enough to cause Alicia Machado to develop one.  I am certain there were many other factors involved, including some that are biochemical in origin.  What I do take note of are her comments about how he treated her and the names he allegedly called her in public.

Again, in 1997, with Donald Trump.  If I'm honest, Alicia is also a little narcissistic, though I suppose you kind of have to be in order to compete for Miss Universe.  

Alicia Machado, now a naturalized U.S. citizen, talks about being mentioned during the first Presidential debates.  

Donald Trump could have spoken to Machado privately about her weight gain, but instead, he turned the lights of the press on her.  At the time, she was eighteen or nineteen years old, legally an adult, but very inexperienced.  There was Trump, a famous businessman with money, fame, and power and, as the owner of the Miss Universe pageant, he was ostensibly Machado's boss.  She was his subordinate.  Instead of allowing Machado some dignity, Trump publicly humiliated her in front of the entire world.  Plainly put, that behavior makes him a toxic leader.

Consider that Trump is also known for his reality show, The Apprentice.  What was the tag line for that show?  "You're fired!"  And he relished saying those two words week after week in front of millions of viewers, who tuned in to watch the tasteless shaming on national television.  

Hillary Clinton calls out Trump.

While many people want to make this situation with Machado simply about women, I won't even go that far. I think the way Trump treated Machado is indicative of what kind of boss he is.  And I'm not just thinking about his sexist, misogynistic comments toward women.  I'm thinking of the damage Trump, as President of the United States, could wreak upon the many people who work for the U.S. government, to include men and women in the military and their families.  It's true that the military is rife with toxic leaders who regularly put subordinates in harm's way in order to feed their egos.  Those people, at least, have an ultimate boss.  If Trump is in power, he'll be the ultimate boss with only checks and balances and voters regulating his behavior.  He will have tremendous power to humiliate and demoralize people around the world.

Now...  Hillary Clinton is also pretty narcissistic and I'm not sure she won't similarly terrorize her staffers.  However, she's been in the public eye for decades and I have never seen her treat people the way Trump regularly does.  If she is terribly abusive, at least she has the sense to keep the abuse out of the public eye.  That shows she does at least have some awareness of it.  Trump simply says and does whatever he wants we no regard for how it will be perceived or the ultimate effect it will have on other people.  Consider that as the president, he will be a role model to children.  They will see and hear what he does.

They'll be listening...

Besides...  Donald Trump has absolutely zero experience as a politician.  He simply parrots what disenfranchised Americans want to hear.  He often contradicts himself and gets very flustered when he gets caught in a misstep.  How will that tendency affect him as president, when he's dealing with world leaders?  

I think the United States needs a president who has some regard for other people.  Donald Trump's blustering rhetoric may make some voters feel better in the wake of President Obama's legacy, but in the long run, I think he would be disastrous as a world leader.  I think he's toxic.  

That being said, I still believe that people have the right to vote as they please.  Let the chips fall where they may.  God help us all in 2017.


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