By definition, an authority figure is a person whose real or apparent authority over others inspires or demands obedience and emulation. Those who continue to walk in lockstep with Donald J. Trump certainly place him on a lofty pedestal. It seems nothing he does or says will shake their undying loyalty.
But, what if other authority figures chose to act like the President of the United States?
As a parent, if you approached the principal of your child’s school with a concern or complaint, and he or she treated you with the disdain shown those who have the temerity to question the Commander in Chief, would you continue to support him or her? If that administrator then used social media to ridicule and taunt you, would that be acceptable? If a teacher dared not offer opinions or criticism for fear of retribution, would the level of education improve or decline in your community? Would you advise your offspring to take a bullying incident to officials if that complaint would be dismissed out of hand as imagined or falsified? Called fake?
Of course not. Yet, Trump supporters are willing to overlook his behavior because he is “better than the alternative.”
The President is backed by many so-called Evangelical Christians. Their leaders recently allowed the vindictive leader of the free world to hijack their National Day of Prayer in order to launch invectives at his perceived enemies.
But, imagine a world in which your church’s minister emulated Donald Trump. Would you continue to attend, choosing to focus on his or her most positive attributes and ignoring those you would label as repulsive in any other context? How long would that preacher last before the congregation would collectively send him or her packing if he or she was a thrice-married and foul-mouthed shepherd who used his or her pulpit to bully and berate church members?
Not long, I would wager. Yet, similar practices are lauded by the majority of religious conservatives.
When a local police chief’s policies and procedures become too punitive, the community will most likely remove him or her in short order. If that officer abuses his or her power in order to further a political agenda, the public would demand he or she be called on the carpet. There would be a trial where witnesses would be called, and a verdict rendered by an impartial jury. Certainly, such a peace officer could expect to be disciplined and maybe even removed from his or her post. Would members of the public stand for retaliation against those who chose to testify against the constable under investigation?
Not likely. Yet the man in charge of the nation’s top law enforcement officials once claimed that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”
By definition, an authority figure is a person whose real or apparent authority over others inspires or demands obedience and emulation.
Is Donald J. Trump’s authority real or apparent? Does he inspire obedience, or does he demand it only? Is he worthy of emulation?
Since legislators were incapable of deciding, it will be up to voters to make the determination next November.