Sunday, August 26, 2012

What I Meant to Say

How many times lately have you heard politicians say that?  They utter something incredibly stupid and then backtrack with "What I meant to say was..."  Are you as sick of this as I am?

Although politicians are getting most of the attention right now because of the upcoming election, they, as we know, are not unique in their ability to stick their feet into their mouths.  Celebs do it and even ordinary people do it.  

Why do you suppose it happens so often?  Are we so anxious to have our opinion heard and so focused on getting noticed that we forget to edit what we are about to say?  Do we simply not care about the words that fall out of our mouths? What does this say about us as a society or civilization?

We state opinion as fact; we perpetuate urban legend; we insult; we wound.  We care little for what we say until it has been said.  Then, when the firestorm of indignation hits us, we backpedal.  We cover-up by restating our position, pretending that we misspoke, hoping that no one will remember what was originally said.

We've seen Twitter feuds between celebs and I have relatives who lost friends because of something posted on Facebook. We just watched this happen with Rep. Todd Akin. 

If we truly believe what we say and say it correctly so that others understand, the need to amend or correct goes away. We can stand by what we said because it is accurate and the meaning is clear.

The sad truth is that all this poison of hurt and anger could be avoided if we would just give a second thought to what we are about to say.  It is what we want to post or tweet or say really true?  Will it hurt someone unnecessarily?  Will we stand by it no matter what?  It is worth the grief or humiliation we will experience if we proceed?  Is our ego or is our brain motivating us?

Will we have to say, "What I really meant to say was...

1 comment:

Doug M.Cummings said...

Also unfortunate are the intentional "What I Meant to Says" that come when a politician or group wants to float a radical position for awhile, pick up the numbers their statement generates, and then retract, knowing that most of those who heard the original remark won't care, or even believe, the "What I Meant to Say."
I have no doubt Mr. Romney believes his "47 percent" statement. I think Mr. Akin is just the fool his insights into rape prove him to be.It happens on the other side, too (Mr. Obama letting slip his thoughts on a certain world leader), and in the celeb world. An actor who's been overlooked for awhile gains instant attention with an off the cuff, later retracted, remark.
We live in a mercilessly manipulative society. I believe "What I Meant to Says" are too often a manifestation of spin and not meant as a clarification at all.