Donald Trump, Power, and the Path Not Taken

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By Mark Naison (December 17, 2018)

Because of things we have in common-age, race, gender and size- I often compare myself to Donald Trump.

Why didn’t I turn out the way that he did? Why am I not, in my public persona, filled with rage and bitterness? Why is spreading happiness more important to me than appealing to people’s fears and insecurities?

It is not because I had a happier childhood than Donald Trump. For all kinds of reasons, I was a lonely and angry young man. But I had three things that ultimately pushed me towards a different path than Mr Trump- a visceral identification with the underdog, a hatred of bullies, and a longing to be loved, which I hid under a crusty exterior.

Also, unlike Mr Trump, I was never enamored with power, which appears to be his lifelong obsession And the reason is simple. Power came easily to me in sports. From the time I was 8 years old I felt it every time I hit or threw a ball. And it didn’t bring me friendship, it didn’t bring me happiness, it didn’t bring me love.

Those things, I discovered, would only come when, through the inspiration of the Civil Rights Movement, I tried to use what skills I had to help others expand their opportunities and improve their lives, whether it was by tutoring, working with tenants, or joining protests to end discrimination. Only when I started doing those things did the shell around me come down, and I became available for love and friendship

Seeking power alone leaves a person empty inside. It heightens anger and insecurity. Working to help others provides a sense of purpose and builds communities which ease the “me against the world” perspective which is the cause of so much pain

Looking at Donald Trump, seething with rage, wondering who he can trust, I am very glad I didn’t choose the path to power, which is also leading him toward a fall.

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