I once subscribed to an almost daily email of economics from a rather well known group of somewhat revolutionary economists. They said they wanted to convince America with their articles that we should be on a completely free market basis. They made their arguments with mathematics, long historical arguments from three thousand page books to prove who made up their ideas first, inserted many long quotes from authorities of their own, and made bad jokes about anyone who disagreed with them. I think I was more sympathetic to them before I began reading than after. I fell asleep and unsubscribed.
The people of America have heard political debates for over two hundred years on everything from where new wagon roads should go to whether we should have a bureau of tea tasters. Americans watch the debates in which only one to take a pounding is the facts, and, I would guess, probably fall asleep and unsubscribe, maybe permanently.
Those in the public eye need to remember that everyone is talking at once and almost no one is listening. “New Plans” “News Ideas” are all over and opinions are free but also worthless. Not many speeches change anyone’s mind. And the nation yawns and shakes its head.
There are people that are really hurting. Joblessness is a real problem. Hundreds of thousands are unemployed. That is a real issue. They are not numbers, they are people. I recall that it was said of Ronald Reagan that he was so loved because he talked to the people like they understood about things they understood.
Much of the political malice does not come from anger against ideas, it comes from anger against people. Against old scores and many times bad jokes. That goes all the way back to the Continental Congress, when John Adams called John Dickenson a “piddling genius” and caused such a massive rift it almost derailed some things.
The Scriptures say that the meek are blessed, not the one who can make fun of the other guy the best. “Swift to hear, slow to speak.” It is not a trophy to run with your fingers in your ears shouting at the top of your lungs “I will not change!” You could be wrong about some things-you are certainly wrong about something. If we all lower our voices until they can be heard, if we have more love instead of jokes, and listen more instead of shout louder, we just might get things done. We have to remember none of us are perfect. Even Ronald Reagan changed his mind at times.
Andrew C. Abbott