RACISM, KITTY HAWK AND TRUMP’S SHAME GAME

TRUMP’S SHAME GAME — It is no surprise that Donald John Trump’s major contribution to his presidency is shame. You knock the man, you get a shame name: Little Marco, Lying Ted, Crooked Hillary, fake news. You notice they are all two-word handles. His Apprentice show was all about shame and two dramatic words,“You’re fired.” And if that weren’t enough, cameras followed the humiliated losers down the elevator, out the building and into shame land. It may be effective television. Is it effective leadership? Someday, if cameras follow this president’s final exit from the White House and into shame, will anyone say, Plump Trump, you’re fired!

RACISM IS A LIMITED CONCEPT — Racism is a subset of a much larger divide of prejudice in the land. And that divide is rightfully called tribalism. Tribalism is old, as old as Neanderthals and Denisovans in their respective caves. Tribes are separated, stacked in countless disconnected silos.

There are economic silos: Boardwalk and Baltic Avenue folks.

Political: liberal, conservative, red states-blue states. Social: hoi polloi and deplorables.

Territorial: urban and rural.

Geographic: coasts and fly-over country, Religious: Protestant-Catholic-Jewish-Muslim, Evangelics-Atheists.

America was settled by a religious tribe, the Puritans.

Every tribe has its own belief system. That is what defines and binds the tribe. It is also a given that some belief systems are a bit abhorrent There is even a tribe that believes truth isn’t truth. Tribe’s often insist their way is superior and are hostile to other systems. That is when those stacks of disconnected silos descend into inevitable decay -along with the land where they stand.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED — Early in school we all learn about Kitty Hawk, the Wright brothers and their invention of mankind’s first successful flying machine. That’s often the last time we ever think about the brothers from Dayton, Ohio. It takes historian, David McCullough, in his masterful audiobook, to bring the Wright’s story into three dimensional, compelling detail.

This is a play-by-play about extraordinary perseverance in the face of tremendous obstacles. With no more than a high school education, Wilbur, the oldest, and Orville started their manned gliding experiments at the turn of the 20th century from their bicycle shop in Dayton. They were not he only ones attempting manned flight at the time. But they had the mechanical skills and unstoppable determination to overcome the numerous hurdles in their way.

There were the sheer geographical difficulties. Dayton is 677 miles from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Their machines were built in Ohio, and had to be all broken down, crated and shipped to Kitty Hawk, several times from 1901–1903.

There were countless failures, crashes and bodily injuries. They had multiple weather problems and mosquitos. Every year, between April and October, massive swarms of mosquitos stopped all work.

They were offered various financial resources to help. They turned them down.

They never courted the newspapers, many of whom were outright dismissive of their efforts.

Next time you’re in an airplane, bring along this splendid audiobook and marvel at magnitude of the Wright brothers achievement.

(audiobook, 10 hrs; print, 320 pages)

Tom Alderman is a thirty year veteran media analyst, trainer and founder of MediaPrep.

Tom Alderman is a thirty year veteran media analyst, trainer and founder of MediaPrep.