Is This Really Us?

A Critical Doer controls what is theirs to control

A Critical Doer is willing to lead

How far can you see?


Is the pattern of communication in the public arena a realistic reflection of us?  The truth hurts.

I was chatting with a cousin a couple of days ago about the upcoming election and we got on the topic of not only how toxic the election rhetoric has become but in general the toxicity of public discourse on a wide array of topics.  I made the remark that public figures are not solely to blame for the decorum of public discourse.

Speakers are trying to persuade us to see things their way, and part of doing that is communicating in a style that they believe will resonate with the target audience.  It would be absurd, if the intent is to persuade, to intentionally communicate in a way that the audience would find appalling.

If candidates in partisan politics and commentators in the public arena are communicating in such toxic and visceral ways…and there are no adverse consequences…the only conclusion is that they are convinced that this style will resonate with us.  The way they are communicating is in reality, a reflection of us and the way we are treating each other.

”Is this really us?”

It’s a legitimate question to ponder.  There is no doubt that leaders affect the behavior of followers, but how do followers affect the behavior of leaders?  I learned this the hard way with my children.  A bitter pill I had to swallow was the discovery that many of the things that drove me nuts about my kids’ behavior…were imitations of me.  I learned that if I wanted my kids to act within certain standards, I had to act within those same standards…the followers effectively modified the leader’s behavior.

In a democratic society, there is a see-saw between leader and follower.  There is ample opportunity for both to influence the behavior of the other so simple one-sided finger pointing is not the answer…credit and blame goes both ways through a reinforcing cycle of behavior and acceptance of that behavior.

This post is not a partisan commentary or endorsement…that’s not my arena.  My arena is the business of turning thinking into meaningful doing…understanding how our behavior and communication affects the behavior and action of those around us plays an important role in determining our capacity to do.  You may not think you can change the phenomenon of rancor in public discourse, but you can and the answer lies with a Critical Doer trait of controlling what is yours to control which is how you choose to communicate with others and the standards you either accept through silence or reject as unacceptable.

We start by speaking to each other dispassionately and through the lens of well thought out reason.  We resist speaking louder and turning to insults when others don’t agree so that reason can lead us to the path of truth in all things.  That’s the “US” we’re capable of being, and a Critical Doer won’t wait for someone else to go first.

“Is this really us?”  The answer is up to you.


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Updated: November 5, 2016 — 12:18 pm