Virtually everybody agrees that actions speak louder than words, yet so many of us somehow have fallen for the false promise that what famous people say matters.
The media provides one of the worst examples, constantly flocking around the President for his comments after a huge development, such as a mass shooting. We’ve turned our commander in chief into the mourner in chief.
It’s been going on for a long time, long before Donald Trump became president. For example, I remember the broadcast media eagerly hounding First Lady Nancy Reagan in 1986 for a quote about the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. All she said was, “Oh no! No!”
Very enlightening and profound, eh? I can’t blame Nancy Reagan for not being eloquent in a moment of crisis. But I can blame the media for trying to make us believe it mattered what she said.
Fast forward to this year, in which crises and major events have been abundant. Every time they happened, broadcast and print media have rushed to the president to get a comment that somehow is supposed to play a major role in what had just occurred. What they get is either a carefully crafted response, or one of Trump’s widely criticized crass remarks.
In the case of the mass shootings, the president and other celebrities consistently have offered their thoughts and prayers, something that easily could have been said as well by your local church pastor. You could make up a template for what to say and simply change the names of the victims and location.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims at the church shootings in Texas… We offer our thoughts and prayers to the victims of the senseless shootings in Las Vegas… Thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Houston during this difficult time.”
It’s almost like Dial-A-Prayer. Fill in the blanks.
The media also pesters coaches during halftime or immediately after athletic contests, eliciting nothing that helps the reader or viewer better understand the game or what just happened.
Pretty words are far less effective than actions and votes to change things in response. But too many seem to settle for the pretty words and then forget all about the problems and their causes. So nothing gets done, problems do not get solved.
In my humble, but correct opinion, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren presented a terrific lesson to her supporters and detractors in her race for the senate in 2012 when there was a lot of scorn heaped on her opponent, incumbent Republican Scott Brown.
The woman President Trump derisively refers to as “Pocahontas” told a gathering of debate attendees that she personally had no doubt that Scott Brown was a good husband, a wonderful father. But, she said, “what matters is how he votes.”
In other words, his actions speak louder than words. Look at his voting record. He’s a fine man, but he votes the wrong way.
I thought about this recently when I watched and heard all the kudos afforded Senator John McCain, Senator Bob Corker and Senator Jeff Flake for speaking out against Trump at the same time none of them will seek election to public office again. Meanwhile, I noted all of them VOTED to rescind the Obama-era permissions for wronged citizens to sue their banks or financial institutions.
This also reminded me that we American citizens are too easily distracted and therefore easily misled. We constantly pay attention to President Trump’s lack of social graces and coarse and belligerent language, and his parade of spoken falsehoods. Meanwhile, our senators and congresspersons are quietly working on legislation that continues our alarming march into the abyss of totalitarianism.
As comedian George Carlin observed, “But nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care.”
We are easily distracted by the circus, easily misled, we’re not really paying attention. And that’s why our democracy, or republic, has deteriorated so badly that former President Jimmy Carter has declared the United States instead to be an oligarchy, or the rule of a few.