Thursday, November 17, 2016

Learn to articulate otherwise it just comes off as hate: An educator's thoughts on true political discourse

For the last 16 years, I have watched a steady decline in political discourse, and have seen an increase in political fighting and trolling; especially with the rise of social media. The vitriol is currently at an all-time high, and it is so bad that nobody’s message is getting through; and I mean the real message.

Let me also so say that this is not a political message, I am not connected to any political party. I do not believe in labels and I do not fit into any category specifically.

In 2000, when George W Bush was elected President, there were several people who I knew running around shouting, “he is going to be the anti-Christ”, there was crying, anger, etc. During one particular tirade I remember, when I routinely declined to let people know who I voted for (I got accused of all kinds of stuff because I was not agreeing with these folks), I asked a simple question: “what specifically are your issues with him”? Note the word specific…

Fast forward to the election of President Obama in 2008. Before the man was even elected, there were a number of people telling me how bad he is going to be, how he is going to do this bad thing or that bad thing, etc., etc. Now towards the end of his successful presidency (he got elected twice so say what you will), there are people saying he is the worst president ever, “I hate him” (always people who opposed him). I have asked the same question I asked in 2000 several times to these people, “what specifically are your issues with him” “what exactly makes him so bad”. I have yet to get a complete answer, even from some intelligent people I respect.

Now we have Donald Trump as our president elect. While he has said many things that would have made all past presidents unelectable, he was elected, and quite decisively, so now is not the time for vitriol but specifics. Your message will never get your concerns across if you are just shouting, because people will not listen to shouting. Your message means nothing unless you can clearly articulate it, and the recent attempts to do so have been weak to non-existent.

When first ladies, people who have traditionally been exempt from the political bashing, are being mocked as an “ape in heels” (yes it was racist so please do not excuse it) and people cheer, when our presidents are being compared to chimps (Bush) and “lying Africans” (Obama): don’t you think things are going too far?

If you cannot clearly explain your message, then there is no message. Perhaps you just need to sit down, take a breath, and remember that we are all human.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

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