Sunday, January 24, 2021

Donald Trump and the Butterfly Effect

We are all familiar with the ‘butterfly effect’, describing a phenomenon when a seemingly trivial action – a whisper, a smile, a compliment or the fluttering of a butterfly’s wing – causes a soft ripple that can reach a distant continent.  You simply cannot calculate the power and reach of a simple act of kindness. Here’s how it works. 

You are in line waiting to buy your first coffee of the day and you discover that the stranger ahead of you has paid for your order.  You are moved by this this simple act of generosity.  Your mood elevates.  You wonder why such an idea never occurred to you.  You ruminate over this on your drive to work.  You greet your secretary who has been under stress and very distracted over her spouse who is recovering at home after surgery.  You think about what that must be like for her and her family.  It’s Thursday morning and you send her home for the rest of the work week so she can help her spouse get well.  The secretary is overcome with gratitude.  After her return to work, she feels that she wants to emulate the kindness that you showed her.  See receives yet another e-mail from her local food bank, only this time she feels the urge to participate and she does so.  Three families she will never meet will now receive food.  A child from one of these families ends up becoming very wealthy and makes it her mission to give back.  And, with a hope and a prayer, the chain keeps extending one link at a time.

The flutter of a wing can change the world.

Of course, the butterfly effect can also create a chain that leads to darkness.  The impact of an unkind remark a scowl, idle gossip  or a vengeful act can reach far beyond the original action.  Since the ultimate negative effects appear unconnected to the first action, the creator of the first link in this dark chain is unaware that he bears some responsibility for the damage that he seeded.

What might the cumulative effects be of leaders who failed to step up for truth, dismissed and excused dishonesty, supported those who trafficked in baseless conspiracy fantasies, rejected mask wearing and other public health measures during a pandemic, challenged the results of a repeatedly verified presidential election, told an alt-rite group with a history of violence to 'stand back and stand by', fired government officials whose transgression was to tell the truth, whipped up tens of millions of supporters to ‘take back our county’ and voted to reject a state’s electoral vote count?

You don’t think that all of this could lead to a violent insurrection, do you?

As of a few days ago, there's a new butterfly in town. 


  1. You are very right about the "ripple" effect of actions!!
    That being said, it is also true that many thousands of us who voted for Trump NEVER liked the way he fought back all the time, but he did more great things for this country than many had in the past!! And let's remember that he was attacked by the Dems and the Fake News even before he took office!! We so wish he had been so much more articulate and "Presidential", but he is not a Politician and that is exactly what this country needs!! He truly cares about the working class!!
    Please know that thousands and thousands of us who liked what he did for this country don't nor ever will act out like you think would be the ripple effect!!!

  2. @anonymous, I appreciate your thoughtful comments and hope to see your voice again on the blog. All the best, MK