Friday, yesterday, was President Trump's inauguration. I didn't watch it. I had an incredibly busy day, was feeling a bit under the weather, and while I think watching would have been a good thing, it didn't make it high enough on the priority list for me to try and make it become a logistical reality.
Social media reactions, however, have me mulling some things over.
In particular, I've been considering the extreme and opposing responses to his inaugural address. Looking at my feeds, I have to wonder if everyone actually heard the same speech, for how could the same 1456 words lead to such absolute extremes of reactions and understandings?
At one end of the spectrum are those convinced he loves the USA and that life will improve dramatically as he begins to actually follow through on his campaign promises. At the other end of the spectrum are those convinced he is selfish and inept and that if he even starts to do anything he threatened, our country cannot survive.
Clearly, words aren't offered up on a clean slate.
Rather, our understanding and interpretation of words spoken or written by another person is influenced by more baggage that we typically care to admit. Things such as:
- personal agendas;
- perceptions, right or wrong, of the person wielding the words;
- previous interactions with the actual words used or with the person using them;
- proper awareness of the context in which words are used;
- prior understanding of topics discussed;
- actual mode of participation in the conversation;
- grace and pardon one is willing to offer to those whose words provoke unwanted or undesirable results; and/or
- pliability in accepting those who view things differently.
I could probably expand that list further if I had more time or if more "p" words were coming to mind
I still haven't watched the inaugural address.
But clearly, most of us need more practice at recognizing that no one is a neutral listener.
We all favor our own personal agendas as we listen and interpret the speech or the writings of another and our abilities to set those agendas aside to really hear first needs q lot of refining.
photo credit: Geoff Livingston
The U.S. Capitol Building Readied for the Trump Inauguration