When Julia Louis-Dreyfus announced via Twitter that she has breast cancer, she showed Trump how leadership tweeting is done. At any other time in our political history, the very idea of saying a person playing a president or vice president on television is more presidential than the real thing would be absurd.
Just when you thought… pic.twitter.com/SbtYChwiEj
— Julia Louis-Dreyfus (@OfficialJLD) September 28, 2017
Yet, one need only look at Trump’s use of Twitter to bully football players into silence while dedicating significantly less concern for Americans in Puerto Rico who are dying. Our managing editor, Sarah Jones, wrote eloquently on the issues that go with a government official attacking NFL players for taking a knee in the name of racial justice. The bottom line is Trump, who continues to spout nonsense that taking a knee is disrespectful, did all this while Americans in Puerto Rico are dying as a result of the damage that came with Hurricane Maria.
Bullying football players was “President” Trump’s first priority because anything short of worshipping the ground he walks on hurts his feelings. He knew that take a knee was about racial injustice – an injustice that was defended by Trump on too many occasions to document here.
Whether it was not so subtly approving of police brutality during a speech to police officers, or his pardon of Joe Arpaio, his decision to attack NFL players for days on Twitter and during a rally in Alabama, or when he described Nazis as “very fine people.” Pro-tip to the President: Chanting “blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us” was not about statues or culture – at least not American culture.
Also attacking the NFL wasn’t about the flag or the anthem, unless you reduce both of those symbols of patriotism to their physical being, vs the meaning that makes them patriotic symbols.
Trump’s verbal assault on NFL players argued this is about “disrespect” for the people who fought for the very values the flag and the anthem represent, one of which the President attacked with his rants about taking a knee, namely the first amendment. Oops.
I could get into the fact that kneeling during the national anthem is nowhere near as disrespectful as bragging about getting away with grabbing a private part of a woman’s anatomy and it doesn’t come close to attacking the rights and values the flag and the anthem represent.
The bottom line is Trump uses his cyber pulpit to lift himself up, while trying to push other people down – to “know their place” in the Trump version of America.
Conversely, Julia Louis-Dreyfus learned today of her breast cancer diagnosis. News like this is the news that everyone dreads. It raises questions about prognosis, and for way too many Americans the stress that goes with financial concerns, how one’s illness will radically and profoundly affect other family members. Adults recognize this is more important than if Facebook or the media likes you.
If anything gives someone a good reason to be all about themselves, it’s a cancer diagnosis. Yet, Julia got into the fact that many other women get this news. She got into the fact that many woman don’t have support systems and fantastic insurance. She used her illness to advance a healthcare policy that will benefit every American. In my book, that’s leadership.
In short, at a time when she could have made this exclusively about her, Julia Louis-Dreyfus still found something in herself to show concern and empathy for others. That is how leadership is done and that is how social media, like Twitter, can be one of the effective ways to show leadership.
Ever since Trump became the Republican Party’s nominee, he pushed the narrative that he is the greatest communicator since Ronald Reagan.
That begs the question why even his most devoted supporters wish he would stop tweeting, but I digress.
Leading also is ultimately a selfless act – something that John McCain and now Julia Louis-Dreyfuss have shown in recent weeks while Mr. Trump continues to make everything happening in the world about himself – even when other people are in peril, facing difficult and life threatening medical challenges or worry about their children getting shot by the police for walking down the street while black.