When To Be Nice
ecently, The Ringer made a list of The 50 Best Good Bad Movies, with Road House coming in at #21. The list got me thinking and now I have something to admit… and I won’t even be upset if you judge me because of it. I love the 80’s action movie Road House. I am unapologetic about my affection for this cult classic.
If you haven’t seen it, Road House is the story of a Cooler (head bouncer) named Dalton played by the incomparable Patrick Swayze. The movie follows Dalton’s trials to clean up a nightclub called the Double Deuce, while at the same time practicing tai-chi, sharing great bits of wisdom (possibly gained from his Master Degree in Philosophy from NYU) such as “pain don’t hurt”, and protecting the town from the local bully and his goons. I cannot recommend this movie enough.
One of the bits of wisdom that Dalton imparts to his bouncers is, “I want you to be nice until it’s time to not be nice.”
In my opinion Mitt Romney is nice. He is by all accounts a great husband, father, and a man of faith who believes in the importance of public service. Like I said, Mitt Romney is nice. And what did being nice do for Mitt Romney? It got him slammed by the media. He was labeled an elitist, sexist who tied his dog to the roof of the car, and didn’t know a thing about geopolitics. Mitt decided to be nice and much to my disappointment, Mitt lost.
President Donald Trump has been labeled by some as “not nice.” Pretty often, the President is combative with the media, makes personal attacks about his critics and drafts less than compassionate policies. While he is excoriated for it he doesn’t seem to mind one bit.
This criticism not only serves as inspiration for his tweets but also provides red meat for his base.
Whether through a carefully crafted strategy or just his natural inclination, President Trump has decided he wasn’t going to follow Dalton’s advice to be nice.
On the campaign trail his commitment to “punching back”, as those around him call it, has certainly served him well. His “tell it like it is”, “give no quarter” approach to campaigning endeared him to a large portion of the electorate. However, I can’t help but wonder if he will change his rhetoric as he transitions into the role of President of the United States. As Commander in Chief, he might be better served by following Dalton’s advice to “be nice, until its time not to be nice”.
With the constant stream of Trump Tweets, its hard to understand his end game when he tweets MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski’s face. It causes a short firestorm in the media and then they move onto the next inconsequential drama. Trump’s reluctance to “be nice” keeps people from focusing on his accomplishments and brings attention to his less favorable attributes.
While it is unclear he would be treated any better by the media if he was less combative, it is clear his supporters like it when he fights back. If you haven’t seen Road House (and you should), in the end Dalton beats the bad guys and saves the town, and he does it in a way that definitely wasn’t nice.