We all want the truth, but we don’t want to be honest.
We all want transparency, but we don’t want to reciprocate.
We all want trust … but we don’t want to earn it.
As spring wanes, a perfect storm of peaceful protests, the 2020 pandemic, and Black Lives Matter race riots creates a vortex of tension that could permanently harm society on both emotional and economic levels. All styles of news media, mainstream and social, are leveraging If it Bleeds it Leads drama to full effect, whether it’s covid chaos, race related deaths, or looters rampaging. As a result it’s now much easier for anyone, regardless of political persuasion, to see that neither Trump, Xi Jinping or Putin are truthful and worthy of our trust.
United States is seething in the streets under a chaotic cloak of politics, greed, and power that barely even pretends to seek the truth or promote change. In parallel worlds, Hong Kong violently struggles to maintain autonomous status quo, while Russia covertly stokes BLM fires.
Even though everyone has been aware of equality issues for decades, very few in the 1% have yet to initiate substantial and plausible solutions – race and equality problems need billions of dollars, not millions.
In a repugnant game of one-upmanship, United States, China, and Russia are all exposing their underbellies, especially to their respective citizens. Leaders, who are feigning to have only now discovered the depth of racism, have been outed as disingenuous … we don’t need more talk, we need money – today. Everyone knows exactly what to do with funding, and it starts with education.
The world is thankful for massive financial contributions from several individuals and companies regarding Racism and Covid, but the obscenely wealthy need to step up in even greater numbers to help in more substantial ways, and not just capitalize on fire sale investment opportunities.
Everyone wants to leverage the momentum, including politico-celebrities. Religious performers / self-described activists like the Reverend Al Sharpton are scrambling to get in the parade and capitalize on the energy – some do it more seamlessly than others. Iconic, anti-racism leaders, who clearly know that today’s atrocities were preventable, must surely be having a hard time post-race-riots managing the guilt they feel from their failures. No? Maybe not. It’s clear for anyone who cares to look though, that celebrity activists are not as results centric as they would like their followers to believe – a lot of noise, few tangible results.
Sharpton recently slighted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the PM’s 21 Second Silence
Trudeau’s measured response to news media about Trump’s threat to use military to manage George Floyd protestors quickly morphed into a deafening diplomatic pause that reverberated thunderously around the world. It was an allegorical Tree Falling in the Forest moment, except this time the entire globe heard it, and saw the dust.
Sharpton, criticizing a Canadian leader because Trudeau chose empathy over force … is the crux of the problem in the U.S.
Regardless of why Trudeau’s silence occurred; some suggested it was the malfunctioning of never-existing teleprompters, while others claimed it was flat-footedness. Speculation aside though, the now-famous 21 Seconds loudly proclaims respect for humanity, and thoughtful, DIPLOMATIC leadership – the antithesis of Trump.
When the PM did speak, he delivered a profound message of empathy and perseverance. Prime Minister Trudeau crossed the finish line eloquently, and when he did, True North Strong and Free hearts leapt.
I don’t always agree with the PM – especially when he stays on message in media scrums – it’s old school. Today’s modern media philosophy is less rigid and delivers an alternative, appropriate, and approved response that answers the question, although not necessarily in the way the journalist was expecting. For the most part though, Trudeau has an excellent grasp on managing news reporters in a way that ensures Canada’s story is reported in the best way possible for our country. It’s a learned skill that improves with practice, and I’m sure is also engrained in Trudeau’s DNA.
Sharpton has had decades to fix the U.S. racism issue and has made a fortune playing celebrity activist while the U.S. crumbles under artificial leadership. That, is the TRANSPARENCY part we all need to pay more attention to in our daily lives. Who’s real, and who’s fake?
In 2020, society sees everything at a glance through an anamorphic social media lens, so when faux leaders are in it for the money, like Trump and others, we can see it clearly. Until Sharpton took a back-handed shot at our PM, I thought perhaps the Celebrity Reverend might be one of the genuinely good guys, but I don’t believe it to be as true today. I haven’t given up on him completely, but Sharpton lost my trust by being spiteful and self-serving.
The leverage that Sharpton wanted to achieve with his snide comment, resulted in nothing more than a feeble attempt to appropriate, for his personal benefit, the contemplative silence Trudeau created.
PR 101: When a third party does something GOOD for YOUR cause, it’s foolish to slow the momentum they created. It’s exposes your self-indulgence and is harmful for your team.
My take on it as a seasoned public relations strategist and crisis communication advisor, is that Sharpton missed a great opportunity to run with and leverage Trudeau’s silence and the diplomatic pause that echoed around the world. It would be a fair guess to say that the black activist felt intimidated by a Canadian leader who is more influential than he, and ironically, who Sharpton conceivably interprets as stealing his limelight. No one wants to be upstaged when there is so much at personal stake, but you have to know when to step back so you don’t ruin momentum that supports your cause and the public good.
The Reverend and America have had a very long time to fix racism issues, but they failed horribly and tragically, so here’s a suggestion to help them move forward more effectively in the future;
Practice what you preach and be genuinely accepting of others. Tolerance isn’t good enough!
TRUTH TRANSPARENCY TRUST
… a trifecta for success.
Maurice Cardinal has been a fisheries marketing and communications advisor and writer in British Columbia for almost a decade and has worked with leading organisations, NGOs, and governments in Canada and abroad.