What Would President Oprah Do?

My five-year-old son legitimately whipped me at cards yesterday.

It’s a little game called Skip Bo.  Players take turns stacking cards (numbered one thru ten) and the first one to use up their home pile is the winner.  My kid knows his numbers, and with some rules help from dad, he played his first real game of competitive cards and the little shark actually beat me.

Up until that game, he hated following the rules.

Whenever I’d Skip Bo with my eight-year-old daughter, we’d invite my son to join us, but he would never play right.  He’d stack cards out of order and go out of turn, sometimes he’d even leave the field of play entirely like a drunken accountant getting bored at his job.  This’d frustrate my daughter (she actually plays by the rules and follows directions) so she’d start using her loud ‘wrangling voice’ on him.  Then he’d counter with his ‘you’re not the boss of me’ screams, so then I’d have to control the situation with a ‘keep it up and no more Skip Bo’ lecture and then the fun, once again, would be ruined.

Look around America these days – you’ll see the exact same pattern everywhere.

Someone’s always ignoring or breaking the rules of the adult playground and that sure does make it tougher for the rest of us to enjoy the game.  For instance, we all know not to litter – plus there’s trash bins everywhere – and yet every time I take my kids to the neighborhood nature walk random garbage is scattered about the parking lot.  We pick up and throw away three pieces each as thanks to whoever runs the place, but our walk would be a lot more fun if there was no need.

Same thing with driving.

Laws aside, not using turn signals and high speed tailgating shows a lack of politeness that says, “It’s all about where I gotta go, pal, your existence means nothing.”   Imagine if people cut in line and invaded personal space like that anywhere else.  Pull that same crap early Black Friday morning outside a Wal-Mart and the crowd will do way more than beep.

And then there’s the president.

Talk about ignoring and breaking every rule our society deems necessary to make cohabitating with millions of other humans remotely bearable.  In other words, the man’s totally rude.  He pushes past others to be first, he mocks disabilities and makes up cruel nicknames for people he disagrees with, he brags about himself to heroes and has a constant need to remind the world of how smart he thinks he is.

And that’s just the legal stuff.

We’ve become so used to his abrasive and unacceptable nature that it’s easy to forget how a positive role model actually acts.  The show Morning Joe cut a video together interspersing quick clips of recent Trumpspeak and Oprah’s Golden Globe speech and the contrast is, uh, noticeable.  (Link to Video)   Her inspirational words reveal intelligence, compassion and a deep consideration for others, while everything he says comes straight from his insecure ego and makes it perfectly clear that the only one he’s truly ever thinking about is his Daddy’s fourth child, AKA the nickname he gave himself:  Wonderful Donald.

He could learn a lot from the Japanese.

According to Author Monique Tallon, “For the Japanese, every person has a role to play towards the collective. There is no “me,” only the “we” – there is a conscious knowing that whatever one does effects the whole.”  (Link to Article)  That’s a fancy way of saying, “They’re a very polite people.”  The Japanese don’t litter or loud-talk over you, they’re not braggarts or mockers and they won’t ever steal your unguarded wallet or cell phone, even when you’ve fallen fast asleep on the subway.  (Link to Photo)

We could use some of that right here in America.

Since we obviously can’t expect our egocentric chief to set the example, it’s up to the rest of us to lead the way back to civility.  When too many of us break the rules of politeness, everyone else pays the price because it makes getting from A to B a whole lot less fun.  Once a day, hold the door open for someone instead of ignoring behind you, wave a thanks to the car who helped you merge, pick up a crumpled bag or a discarded wrapper and toss it in the can. For just a few moments consider others – it’ll help make this red-white-and-blue game of Skip Bo a whole lot more fun.

Let’s be less like Wonderful Donald and a little more like a President Oprah.

  • Mike Lukas

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