October 28, 2007

Are Americans Inarticulate, or Are They Just Unable to Say What They Mean?

How can it be that in a time where people are most connected to those around them; when we grow up with the greatest library of human knowledge in world history; how can it be that we are as a whole so lacking in self-expression.

Queen Rania Al-Abdullah was recently interviewed on CNN’s Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. Now I don’t wish to enter into a discussion, in this particular post, about the ethics and politics of the conflict in the Middle East, but I do wish to address the differences in the way our leaders approach the world.

Listening to Her Majesty speak, is somewhat embarrassing. Only a few minutes earlier, having listened to President Bush speak, it was clear that the Queen’s skill at expressing herself and coherently delivering an argument, were in a league well above the American President’s. Our President does not command much respect with his lack-luster public speaking abilities. He is however, regrettably, representative of many Americans.

Far too many, Americans lack either the will or the education to accurately and precisely express themselves. Often, an argument ends with people resolving that there remains differences beyond reconcile. When a debate does erupt, often people fall back on their right to hold an opinion and dismiss another’s right to challenge it.

Even the Presidential debates lack any real meat. They are over moderated to the point where they are left as face to face presentations of prepared talking points. Where is the challenging of ideas? Where is the passion? A moderator’s role should not just be time keeper. A moderator's purpose is the presentation of issues and regulation of evasion and irrelevant podium thumping. Where is the discourse that made our country great?

Intellectual laziness is a cancer in American society. People do not put forth the effort required to either exercise their expression or expand their vocabulary. Experimenting in expression and vocabulary is important to the future of civilization as a whole. The ideas we have are irrelevant without the capacity to articulate them. These days, between Google, the world media, the thousands of movies, and countless sitcoms available to us, there is no excuse for being simple.

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