It was the sixth-grade student government election. I prepared my speech to convince my peers that I was the perfect presidential candidate. I wore a professional outfit and implemented big words that I thought would make me sound smarter.
All my practice in front of the mirror paid off, and I delivered my speech to perfection. I proudly sat back down in my seat and waited to hear the platform of my opponent, Marcus. Instead of proposing longer recess or more class trips, he entertained the crowd with farting noises. He then devolved into impressions of Peter Griffin and closed with more sound effects.
He was a hit, and his antics overwhelmed my well-considered ideas in the race for sixth-grade president.
Toilet humor and childish behavior is enough to win a middle school election, but somehow the same immaturity has fostered the success of presidential candidate Donald Trump.
It is popular opinion that Trump’s behavior is driven by narcissism. Taya Cohen, a personality researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, agrees with this diagnosis. She explained to The Huffington Post that, “with the exception of pride, self-conscious emotions do not play a central role in his life.”
He has criticized immigrants, making false claims such as, “When Mexico sends us its people, they’re not sending the best.” He has stereotyped Jews and has made clear “the only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” He has minimized women and insulted the appearance and power of successful females. He hasn’t hesitated to call Rosie O’Donnell “disgusting inside and out.” Apparently Hilary Clinton cannot “satisfy America” because, according to Trump, she can’t “satisfy her husband.”
Such behavior would have gotten Marcus removed from office. Schools have no tolerance for these outbursts from children, so how is our nation tolerating this from a grown man?
As cited in an article published by The Daily Beast, Rosalind Wiseman, author of the series of books “Queen Bees and Wannabes” about middle-school girls’ cruelty, compares Trump to an eighth-grade girl. “You really wish the adults would be the adults and be able to check the person who’s abusing power and being so callous to other people,” she said.
Society embraces his inappropriate, offensive behavior. Bullies aren’t stopped until someone stands up to them — and though opponents are trying to defeat him, his backers are resolute in their support of him.
The last thing Trump needs is to feel more powerful. He already feels the ability to debase whomever he chooses. If he cannot make smart personal decisions, why do people want him to make decisions for the nation?
In the long run, Marcus’s class presidency had little impact on my peers. He didn’t hold enough power or have enough exposure. This doesn’t apply to the president of the United States, arguably the most influential person in the world. As CNN’s Jonathan Mann notes, “America’s most unpredictable candidate could turn into America’s most unpredictable commander inchief.”
Evaluating Donald Trump is like sizing up a quart of ice cream. Both are so enticing, with delicious toppings that reassure us that they will be really good. Too distracted by our temptation, we don’t realize that we’ve consumed the whole thing until our spoon hits the bottom of the container — leaving us too full to function properly and think clearly. U.S. voters must look beyond the Oreos and sprinkles of his campaign. Let’s avoid the immediate regret we will feel if we indulge.