#AtoZChallenge Day 12: Leader

L is for Leader

L

This whole presidential election thing has got me thinking about what constitutes a good leader. Among other things, this year’s pop issues have given me one characteristic that I’ll definitely be looking for from now on.

When watching a potential leader, I pay more attention to how they talk about those different from them, rather than those they consider as “we.”

It isn’t a crime to acknowledge that differences exist among people. It isn’t even that bad to pinpoint behaviors in one group that you want to avoid bringing into your group of supporters. What is worth condemning is when you start to ridicule or criminalize those who are different, the most relevant example to this discussion being those of a different religion, race, or political party. If your potential leader uses language that dehumanizes members of a particular group, even if you agree with said leader, just know that the moment you disagree with that leader on some other issue, you will be placed in the category of “different,” and will be subject to all of the hate and fear that goes along with being different – no matter how strongly you supported the leader in the past.

That is how hate works. Once a leader, someone you turn to for authority, points out a quality to hate in another person, everything else about the person becomes quickly forgotten.

I’m not a political expert or even an expert on the human experience. I’ve  just studied a bit about how the human mind works, I’ve witnessed multiple sides of campaigning in the last two presidential elections, trying my best to be an independent voter, and I see how quickly people turn on each other in online dialogue.

And just to be clear – this post is not about any one particular candidate or party. Because in my interaction with supporters, on all sides of every issue, I see this concept of dehumanizing the other side. That immediately turns me off. If you use language that dehumanizes a human, how can I be sure you won’t later do that to me?

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