Clearing the Spindle: a Year of Insults

By | July 15, 2018

[July 15, 2018]  As noted previously, I began a new blog thread to give a brief summary of leadership topics I like but could not get into sufficient detail.  The clearing the spindle post today focuses on this being the year of insults.

Good leaders don’t insult others … mostly.  The primary job of any leader is to bring people together for a common goal.  They do this in many ways but those leaders don’t have to bring everybody together, just most of them.  In the news over the past few days, we witnessed U.S. President Trump at the NATO summit managing to “insult” several allied leaders for not doing enough for their own defense.  As I noted before (link here), there is a delegate line between speech that brings folks together and that pushes them apart.  In this example, I think Trump has the upper hand and will get what he wants from the summit and that is for other nations to pay more for their own national defense.

Calling on Pocahontas.  U.S. President Trump sure does know how to make the news.  One way he really gets the media spun up is by insulting other politicians.  His favorite today is U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren who lied about her Indian heritage for personal gain.   Although she denied it, anyone paying attention knows she is lying.  So, notwithstanding the rule-breaking habit of Trump, he called her Pocahontas in reference to her heritage and thereby reminding others of it very successfully.  All he has to do is say the word “Pocahontas” and the media and his political enemies go wild.  Trump’s supporters love him for it.

Promoting divisiveness.  The greatest risk of insults is that it generates divisiveness.  Anything that generates motivation for others to split from a leader’s vision can be troublesome and backfire.  U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton infamously referred to people from the heartland of America as a “basket of deplorables.”  Of the entire presidential campaign, this was probably the most divisive thing said and tops a long list of insults politicians have blurted out over time.  Remember that politicians need votes.  Needlessly insult a swath of the electorate was dumb.

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

22 thoughts on “Clearing the Spindle: a Year of Insults

  1. Jerome Smith

    Another good article to put into my pocket for use as a leader. The more info we have the better we are at doing what leaders do – bringing people together to accomplish a common goal.

  2. Greg Heyman

    In China, this is the year of the Dog. I think so anyway. How appropriate that the year of the Dog is rife with insults and violence? The rest of the year should be even more entertaining because this seems to be working.

    1. Shawn C. Stolarz

      Good comment, Greg. Yes, the YEAR OF THE DOG.

  3. Army Captain

    This is why we have reasonable protocols of behavior. In some institutions, these are formal, like in the US military. Other times we find them more informal like in most of society. Regardless, I believe there should be a high standard of respect for others but only if they deserve it using morality as the standard.

  4. Danny Burkholder

    I think you have nailed a very important point that is overlooked throughout most of our Western societies. Insults are ultimately about dividing us from others and to isolate. This is a method of warfare but also of getting people to self censor. Keep up the great works here.

  5. Nick Lighthouse

    Very appropriate post for our time.

  6. Bryan Lee

    Europe considers itself the center of the cultural world. But in the case of spreading culture – the culture of insults – I think the U.S. has managed to get ahead of them. Is this a good thing? Or is it just another way of getting things done in an efficient but hard way? Those things I don’t know but I can say one thing and that is, it works.

    1. Forrest Gump

      You got that right about Europe. I think they are “insulted.”

    2. Greg Heyman

      Good comment on cultural differences and change.

  7. Yusaf from Texas

    I had been thinking the same thing over the past few months and especially since the election of US Pres Donald Trump. You don’t have to like him to see that he will insult you before he makes a good deal with you. Strange way of conducting business but if it works, what can I say. Thanks.

    1. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

      Yes, Yusaf I think you and the rest of us have picked up on something that will permeate our culture for a while into the future. Is this a good thing? I’m not sure but there will be a price to pay.

    2. Andrew Dooley

      I nearly snorted my coffee latte through my nose at Starbucks this morning while reading your post.

    3. Tracey Brockman

      Andrew, I never took you for a Starbucks aficionado.

  8. Dale Paul Fox

    Gen. Satterfield, you are spot on with this article today. Despite so many people who demand respect they also demand that they be allowed to insult others. Strangely familiar…socialism at its finest. Great job today.

  9. Doug Smith

    WOW, you certainly got this right. Insults are the wave of the future of our young snowflake generation.

  10. Drew Dill

    Appropriate post for today’s world where insults are the modus operandi.

  11. Janna Faulkner

    I think you hit the nail on the head with this “spindle clearing operation.” Yes, it is the year of insults.

    1. Dennis Mathes

      That’s it Janna. This is the year of insults.

    2. Ronny Fisher

      Glad you made this point early. Thanks, Janna.

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