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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/25/15

Who's Weak? Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump?

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Bernie Sanders and Black Lives Matter activists
Bernie Sanders and Black Lives Matter activists
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The Washington Post reports that Donald Trump weighed in on how Bernie Sanders handled his Seattle rally being interrupted by protesters claiming to speak for BlackLivesMatter:
"That will never happen with me," said Trump. "I don't know if I'll do the fighting myself, or if other people will. It was a disgrace. I felt badly for him, but it showed that he was weak. You know what? He's getting the biggest crowds, and we're getting the biggest crowds. We're the ones getting the crowds. But that's never going to happen to Trump.""
Frankly, this was not surprising. I was expecting that someone, maybe Hillary, or one of her DNC surrogates, would raise this issue. Regardless, the suggestion of weakness was inevitable. if it wasn't Trump it might have been Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity or any one of the stable of Fox News anchors, as well as any of the other 16 Republican candidates.
Let's talk about weakness. Sun Tzu says, "Avoid your competitor's strength, and attack their weakness," and "'Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak."
I would argue that What Trump sees as weakness is more an indication of his top-down, paternalistic, authoritarian way of thinking and operating. It tells us the difference between how Bernie Sanders handles challenges, power and conflict and how Trump does.
Sanders' response to black lives matters activists in Arizona and Seattle gives us a clue how he'll handle pressure from defense secretaries, generals, and others who push for "tough, strong" reactions. There's another kind of power. Joseph Nye, one of the world's most respected experts on diplomacy, and author of Soft Power and The Future of power, and I discussed power that is not based on force or money. It's the power that keeps the people of the world loving the US instead of hating us-- soft power-- power based on attraction rather than power over.
A top-down, authoritarian response to the women who took over the microphone at both the Tuscon and Seattle events would have been to call the police and security and then to have the interrupters escorted out or arrested.
Paulo Freire, author of Pedagogy of the Oppressed, suggests that the oppressed and oppressors are both victims of an oppressive system, but only the oppressed can free both victims. If Bernie had used authoritarian power he had access to, he would have used part of the oppressive system blacklivesmatter activists were protesting. Instead, he shared his power and gave them a voice and followed that up, after Tuscon, by hiring a black organizer, Symone Sanders, who is also a supporter of blacklivesmatter. Then he released a racial justice platform . Trump, Thinkprogress reports, " said he would give the police more power if elected."
One of the Seattle blacklivesmatter activists, Marissa Janae Johnson, quoted civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, famous for saying, "We didn't come all the way up here to compromise for no more than we'd gotten here." BlackLivesMatter activists deserve solid answers from candidates. Bernie delivered. He could have easily called in the police. I say that Bernie's approach was the more courageous one. Calling the police would have been the cowardly way to handle a challenging, complex situation. Trump showed the stuff he is made of and it's just what one would expect-- , spoiled brat grown old and ugly American. He's made it clear-- rather than facing such a situation he would have hid behind police. That's not leadership.
We need strong leaders, but it is essential that WE, the people define what it means to be strong. How do you define strength and weakness?
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Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media.

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He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity

He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites,

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, (more...)

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