I am referring to what passes for communication today, and especially from leaders and those with access to large audiences.
I started noticing a growing problem with the 2nd Bush Administration (sorry for immediately going political here, but it cannot be helped). I would see spokespersons for the 2nd Bush Administration say something absurd, usually in response to or attempting to defend the Iraq War, and then as the last sound and breath escaped their mouths, they would break into this huge smile. I thought, what is going on here? Are these folks going to some summer camp for politicians and being trained to do this? And how stupid are we to accept this kind of conduct? With each passing day, the level of absurdity and lack of truthfulness grew, and there was no consequence for any of this. By the way, did we ever find Sadam’s weapons of mass destruction?
Now, slide forward to the Trump candidacy and his Pinocchio filled with lies presidency. I am sorry this seems so one-sided, but the Republicans have perfected this art of passing off the absurd and lying. I am speaking here with the voice of an Independent, I am not enamored with the Democrats either, but they do seem more cautious with passing off lies and conspiracy theories and just plain malicious fibs. The malicious fibs is getting to be a category all to itself.
Comedians go on stage and share absurdities for the purpose of making us laugh. We know the bargain ahead of time and are willing to participate in exchange for a laugh. We are not being duped and we understand this right from the get-go. It is all meant to be theater and we understand this.
There lies the difference today with political speak. We are being used as an audience in a farce and we have not agreed to this bargain. There seem to be so few filters out there, and too many of us have shut off our filters or they never worked to begin with.
Where the breakdown in public communication seems most egregious is the lack of consequence for the speaker of pure lies and untruths. I swear today many of these speakers are shouting the most horrible and damning statements just because this is how they get media attention. We do not hold the spreaders of lies and untruth accountable for their deceits. The media is somewhat to blame for covering much of this sewage and giving oxygen to the bad bacteria in the mouths of these nefarious speakers of lies, malicious fibs, and out and out untruths.
There are all kinds of critical thinking skills that should be exercised by us as an audience, and we seem to have lost our moral compasses here. Some of us seem to be unable to reject bad speech, bad thinking, and malicious communication. I keep going back to secondary level education and wondering what is not happening here. I know we are now experiencing a world of reluctant readers and maybe this is the consequence of just that.
We have been faced with a national emergency in the last two years, i.e., the pandemic. And yet, so many of us get our science from folks that probably never passed a high school science class and their one great skill is connecting with the Q Anon team, or who knows, maybe they are self-proclaimed high priests in Q Anon.
Then, we have the other spreaders of toxic speech sewage, the folks with the hate talk shows, the folks that spread it so deep and stinky there is no treatment for the smell of their verbal sewage. I think we all can associate some names here.
And then, we had a president who learned how to do all of this from an attorney that was later disbarred, Roy Cohn. Roy Cohn came to prominence as Senator Joseph McCarthy’s chief counsel and advisor in the 1950s. Roy Cohn was later hired by Trump’s father during Donald Trump’s younger years to tutor and mentor Donald Trump in all of the bad acting and lack of redeeming qualities that we have come to know with Trump. This has all been pages taken from the Roy Cohn playbook and I think these pages are being passed out at Republican gatherings and used for inspiration.
The only remedy for all of this is to reacquaint ourselves with critical thinking skills, or if you are not familiar with what I am talking about here, there are many good sources available on the internet. Here is a good one:
Ernest Hemingway used to speak about his personal filter as such: “The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, shit detector.” Well, we all need one of these, and we need to use it.
Take care and use your filters – demand the truth from those that speak to us. Nothing less is acceptable.