The COVID issue has become politicized as we all know, and I think there’s a lesson in leadership in there.
The present POTUS’s character is one of going his own way. He calls himself a “counterpuncher”. You attack him (or he perceives you attacking him) and he attacks you back. His supporters love him for this.
But even his supporters admit POTUS’s detractors don’t take the punch lying down. Hit them, and they hit back. Things escalate. Result: in a national emergency, wide swathes of the public distrust each other. Reflexively take diametrical sides based on that distrust, spurred on by the internet provocateurs of Putin, NK, China, and Iran.
The question in leadership–a general question-- is this: How do you de-escalate?
I mean, it’s not new stuff. The question has been around for awhile. Some really, really old farts had suggestions:
- "You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
- "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
- "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Simple stuff, ignored by an American society pissed off with each other, and now facing a national emergency.
The adults in the room have to ask themselves, Is counterpunching a sign of leadership on anyone’s side? Is it improving things?