Maybe I Didn't Make Myself Clear


A to Z Word Potpourri
Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek


Maybe I Didn’t Make Myself Clear


As the months and years fly by, some of us think back to those times when we were in heated discussion about things that are important.  Sometimes the topics were important only to us, but at other times the topics were important to others, many others. At such times it seems obvious that speaking up for what we believe is important enough to risk hurt feelings and the predictable condemnation from some organized groups.  It is easy to stand silently in a crowd, but it takes courage to speak out in a hostile environment. But as they say in the often filmed scenes of contested marriages, ”speak now or forever hold your peace.”


As we all know, the vast majority of times, even in scripted and sugar-coated productions made by film companies, the protagonists do not speak up.  In the make-believe world of Hollywood movies and films made for TV audiences, there are no consequences that last after the buttered popcorn is consumed, or the TV show comes to the end of its allotted time slot.  In the real world where brothers and sisters are engaged in conversations about family matters that do matter, it is vitally important to speak up when circumstances demand it.  That also applies to the world of politics where the elections and the outcomes affect all of us. Better to speak out before the elections than to suffer years of buyers remorse.



Alas, in family matters most people do not always say exactly what they want to convey, in the way they want the message to be understood.  It does not matter if the speaker or speakers are skilled orators or not, highly educated or not...the subject matter is adorned with its own set of values and truths, waiting only to be discovered for what they really are.  If those intrinsic values and implied truths are not elaborated by those wishing to expose them, maybe we are witnessing a case of the respondents not making themselves clear.  

The same principles apply to political elections, starting before the elections themselves; but continuing well beyond that time when elected officeholders take up office space.  Protagonists as candidates may be more articulate, but the voters also have a stake in the outcomes, thus should be clear about what values they truly embrace and are willing to support.

The timid, the inarticulate, and the cowed may give up early in their quest to state their case in a way that might gain support, in a family discussion, or in a political election.  On the other hand, the extroverted, the glib, and the self-serving candidates who have attracted our attention may hold sway even if their arguments and points of view do not conform to the true nature of the circumstances.  Sadly, we as individuals are always at the mercy of those who are clever enough to spin facts to their advantage. As long as they win, they are not at all remorseful about their methods, They are also not likely to conduct a self-examination of their own arguments--if they work, even if they really don’t believe in them.

On the other hand, those who find themselves disenfranchised may wish that they had presented other, complementary points of view.  In other words,  the losers in family debates, grand or insignificant, may wish that they persisted with a willingness to proclaim,  “Maybe I didn’t make myself clear.”  That willingness to extend the discussion or fully debate the issues sends a clear signal that maybe,  just maybe, my case is stronger than you know; maybe my argument is deeper than you give it credit for;  maybe you are not going to get a win without a fight.  As regards the emotions of the winners and the losers in political elections, we are all saddled with the results and subsequent policies of the election victors, whether we agree with them or not.  That is not to say that we should just wilt and fade away.  Some of us on the losing side are willing to resist what we perceive as unacceptable circumstances and questionable procedures.  Some of us are willing to declare that we are willing to, as Dylan Thomas once said, “... rage, rage, against the dying of the light.”
Sometimes the world is upside down, and stays that way for a long time
Retirees tend to let loose a little more with family members when they get together. At such times, politics is not as important as family history and values. Many intimate things are discussed; things like growing up, our educations, jobs, marriages, hospital stays, and even our repressed secrets. It is more catharsis than confession.





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