January 20 Means More Than Inauguration Day to Me

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Yes, today the 45th President of the United States became “official” during a ceremony in the nation’s capital.  And, no, I did not attend, and I did not watch the event on television.

Will American give the new President a thumbs up during his administration? Photo courtesy of Newser.

Will American give the new President a thumbs up during his administration? Photo courtesy of Newser.

Like the vast majority of Americans, I was at work. And, unlike many Americans and people around the world, I will not join in protests — organized or spontaneous.

Today, January 20, is the day a new president is inaugurated. (Unless of course, January 20 falls on a Sunday; then Inauguration Day is January 21.)

But today also is my late father’s birthday.  Thaddeus C. Bury, who I remembered in this 2015 Father’s Day post, would have been 101 years old today! And, yes, I guess that makes me sort of “old.”

Given the unrest and controversy today’s inauguration of Donald J. Trump has caused, I have to wonder what Ted (what most people called him) would have thought about the new president and his agenda to “Make American Great Again.”

My father was part of the so called Greatest Generation, meaning he had to make a living during the Depression, served in and endured a world war, returned home and helped build the America I grew up in. Have to believe America was really great for a while, thanks in part to people like my father, and still pretty darn great today.

I’ll save any future comments and observations on Mr. Trump — who I did not vote for — for future posts. I’ll give Mr. Trump and his administration the opportunity to put his agenda into action.  He won, he deserves that opportunity.

On Inaugural Day 2017, the same day as his birthday, I think Ted would have had the same perspective. But, like me, I think my Dad would have been — to phrase a mixed metaphor of sorts — somewhat judicious with the measuring tape.

One somewhat related thought: Today, I ran into a young lady, a student at the university where I work.  I’ve known her for around a year.

She wears a headscarf, and she always has a smile. In my eyes, she is among what makes America great today. If the new President reads this, I hope he’ll accept and recognize that.

Fellow Americans: Join the Bunga Bunga Party*

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Let’s face it: The political system here in the United States of America is at a crossroads, and it’s one perhaps not many of us know in which direction to cross.

silvio-berlusconi

Here’s an image of Mr. Berlusconi courtesy of Reuters. Felt it not appropriate to post any images of Bunga Bunga Party activities in this blog.

Yes, the Republican Party captured the White House, can boast the majority in both houses of Congress and maintain the edge in the number of U.S. governors; but the party certainly is fragmented by splinter groups like the so-called Alt-right. As for the Democrats, their leaders must be feeling the ultimate hangover by winning the popular vote in the presidential race but coming up short where it counts — in the Electoral College.

It’s probably safe to contend that there’s a vast number of Americans who don’t clearly support either party in these days following the November 8 election. Some Americans may even consider joining a new political party. That’s why The PRDude is offering this suggestion: Let’s start a new party and name it the Bunga Bunga Party*.

First, a point of clarification. The name is “borrowed” from the reportedly, how do I state this carefully, “spirited” gatherings hosted by former and once convicted Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. This Wikipedia page offers more insight on the origin and further insight into the aforementioned gatherings.

So, you’re probably wondering: Why name the party after a reportedly tawdry series of events that took place years ago in Italy?

Here are some solid reasons:

  • It’s memorable, has name recognition and there’s a nice ring to “Bunga Bunga.”
  • To my knowledge, no one else has claimed this name for a political party — here or elsewhere.
  • It’s provocative and certainly will stand apart from staid names like “Democratic” and “Republican.”
  • The Green Party name already has been taken, and the Independent Party is boring and non-specific. (“Independent” of what?)
  • Perhaps Mr. Berlusconi will serve as an honorary chairman, which he can do since he won’t have to spend time in jail.

While I have no intention of running as a candidate should the Bunga Bunga Party take shape, I would offer public relations counsel to party leadership. At an hourly rate in line with what communicators working within the Beltline earn, of course.

So fellow Americans, as we prepare tomorrow to celebrate Thanksgiving, that most American of holidays, please make time during your meal with family and friends to consider the Bunga Bunga Party. It might be a welcomed break from quarreling over the real state of politics in the U.S. today.

* * *

*If you’ve read this far, I hope you realize this post is an attempt — hopefully successfully — at satire and humor. If not, can you say “Bunga Bunga?”

 

 

Donald Trump and Public Relations

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Now that many people in this great nation have collectively has taken a deep breath, we can collectively accept the fact that Donald J. Trump was elected president of the United States on November 8, 2016, in what will be remembered as one of the truly astonishing election upsets in the nation’s history.

trump-website-image

Credit: Photo was borrowed from the official website for the Trump campaign. This blog sincerely appreciates the opportunity to include this graphic in today’s post.

Still, many of us will find it hard — perhaps excruciatingly hard — to come to the realization of a Trump administration. But, the democratic process was followed, and Mr. Trump will be inaugurated on January 20, 2017.

Another thing is certain: Prognosticators, pundits and pollsters will grapple for the unforeseeable future about how candidate Trump, a political neophyte and billionaire businessman catapulted to stardom via reality television, beat an opponent with some 40 years of political savvy, including terms as a U.S. Senator and Secretary of State.

(Okay, we will not address the misgivings and faults regarding Hillary Clinton, perceived or substantiated, in this post as that subject is not germane to subject at hand.)

But here’s one theory I would like to quash and address right now: Mr. Trump did not win the presidency due to a masterful “public relations strategy,” as some in the media have asserted.

As stated in this September 2015 article published by Forbes, the author proclaims Mr. Trump’s campaign at the time had delivered “the proper public relations note” to reach its core audience. (For the record, I have no idea what defines a “public relations note.”)  And, others in public relations have contributed to the discussion by offering examples of the value behind some of Mr. Trump’s public relations tactics.

Hogwash, if you ask me. And, if I wanted to get into the gutter like so many these days, I would offer another descriptive term, one that rhymes with “dimwit.”

No, Mr. Trump and those within his campaign did not propagate sound, ethical public relations strategies or offer many — if any — viable tactics for those of us in the profession to absorb and use. The key reasons why:

  1. At times during the campaign and primary race, his rhetoric was based on fabricated facts.
  2. There was little to no effort to disclose where some of the information disseminated came from.

Want an example? Read this Chicago Tribune story from August of 2016 regarding a reported meeting by Mr. Trump with a “high ranking” Chicago police official. The topic was how the city can curtail violent crime in one week through tougher policing.

I do agree that Mr. Trump and his team did employ marketing strategies and tactics to leverage the brand he built through his real estate endeavors, television show and other business interests.  Well, perhaps Trump University should be kept off the list for now.

So how did Mr. Trump win?

That question will be debated for a long time, probably until the next presidential election; but Tuesday’s victory was not driven by public relations, at least not the public relations I practice.