Being too careful with what we say

When our best efforts to be reasonable sometimes get in the way of passion


Okay, enough about me and my whinging (my last two posts) – on to the deep and profound insights of Terry Lewis (or not).

Over the last several weeks there have appeared on Facebook a number of video comparisons of Donald Trump and Obama, the way they handle hecklers for one, but a number of  other issues as well. And as to be expected, Donald is a complete douche bag, revelling in the fact that people might be getting roughed up out there in the crowd by security, or even by other bystanders. I think in one instance he specifically told security to toss the guy out without his coat, even though it was freezing outside. In contrast, Obama is the epitome of restraint and reasonableness, and fairness. What’s not to like about his way of handling the hecklers?

Well as I watched the first few examples of Obama I was impressed and amazed by his even handedness and his ability to appeal to their better natures. But as the examples kept flowing, I became more and more uneasy. He kept on appealing to them to be reasonable, kept on insisting that security leave them alone, and kept on asking them to let him finish as he had given them the respect to hear them etc. Now this all sounds good, but in my thinking you reach a stage where you say enough is enough. I would have liked him to eventually say “Listen, I’ve tried to be reasonable with you but you just don’t seem to want to be reasonable back. As much as it pains me to do so, you’re going to have to either keep your opinions to yourself now or I’ll have to let security do its job”. Who knows, maybe he did say that and the video just didn’t show it. But my point is this – sometimes you can be just too reasonable, to your detriment and to others.

There, I’ve said it. Too reasonable. Obama is nothing if not earnest, but I wonder if he lacks the ticker to actually stand up sometimes and risk looking politically incorrect. I’m not saying he hasn’t got guts – you don’t get to be President without being as tough as nails. But somehow he tries too hard to be nice, and I think that degrades his own sense of authority.

Someone once said “meekness is power under control”. I don’t know if that is technically correct, but I like it. A person who could do you harm but chooses not to because of their own internal character. Someone who may well choose to do you harm if circumstances dictate that you deserve it (don’t ask me to give examples – they would be doomed to fail and be criticised mercilessly) but otherwise they choose not to. I would like Obama to be the sort of person who you can trust but who you also respect – “this guy is fair, but don’t mess with him!”.

Maybe he does have this quality – I haven’t seen enough footage of him to know whether he has displayed that strong “take no prisoners” approach from time to time. Perhaps he has stood up to others in exactly the way that I am advocating here. I hope so.

I do know this. I felt his rhetoric before becoming President was exactly that – rhetoric. Well meaning rhetoric to be sure, soul stirring rhetoric absolutely, but rhetoric nonetheless. I doubted his ability to deliver, way back then, and although I am nowhere near up to speed with all that has transpired in American politics since he won his first term, I get the impression he has been a less than successful President.

Donald Trump is a bad taste in the mouth. While I admire feistiness, it just comes out of him all wrong, and I tremble at the thought that he could potentially become President. So Obama, I know you’re not running, and I would prefer you to him any day, but please, risk a little. Step out of your earnest well intended reasonableness from time to time, just enough to let us see that you are governed more by your passion than by your desire to be correct and controlled.

Author: Terry Lewis

I'm a guy in his 50's who thought it might be fun to write about day to day issues - the stuff that life is made of. It's helped me think and develop some deeper perspectives. I enjoyed it so much I thought I might start posting it in a blog, and here we are! I intend to mix it up as much as I can. I am a thinking kind of guy so the majority of my posts will probably have some kernel of truth or (hopefully) wisdom nestled in there somewhere. But I also hope to have some light hearted posts as well. Too much thinking can make life pretty dull! Anyway, hope you like it.

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