More Than Words


Just as important as what we say is how we say it – and, I venture to add, that how we say things has an even greater impact on our ability to skillfully communicate than the actual words themselves. While this isn’t a new concept for me to consider, what is new is how this method might apply to our current political landscape.

After watching the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton a few weeks ago, I was left thinking: Well, I have no way to know who’s right about what information and who’s not, or who’s viewpoints are more accurate. They’re probably both fallible, in some regard. However, I did take notice of how Hilary Clinton’s demeanor, disposition, and energy exchange came through on stage, both while engaged in oration and while listening to her opponent. Assessed solely on the basis of body language and physical character traits, Hilary was the clear winner in the even-temperament-department. Her mannerisms and energy were much more even keeled. In appearance, she seems to possess a greater sense of equanimity, ease, care, and diplomacy, all of which are important to embody as a leader, whether in a government setting or otherwise.

While I tend to lean to the democratic side of the political spectrum, I would consider myself more of a conservative liberal. I hold some values that would resonate more along the republican side of things – and I don’t find it a valuable attribute to cast my vote along party lines simply because someone is a democrat. I think it’s important to intelligently weigh each candidate and decide for myself who I would feel most comfortable with, running whatever office it is they’re up for election in.

There is much to be said for someone’s appearance and body language. It would not be an easy undertaking to fake the energy we give off, especially during moments of distress or tension. When faced with the question I pose above, on the image I fashioned together, the choice seems relatively clear. If we had to choose someone to listen to based solely on their energy/body language, I would imagine most people would generally favor the man on the right. Most of us probably don’t consider it a good time to listen to someone all hyped up and yelling, regardless of what it is they’re talking about.

In this tumultuous US presidential election season, which seems to be leaving many individuals feeling uncertain as to who’s the lesser of two evils, so to speak, I wonder, then, if it’s worth investigating each candidate based not on the words they’re saying but on how it is they’re being said – how they hold and conduct themselves, their facial expressions and body language. It’s no small judge of character to observe someone’s ability to maintain a steady composure, and base our own judgements as to their competence, skill, and likeability on our findings.

I don’t presume to think I know for sure which of our top two presidential candidates will be best suited to office. And while I do keep informed and find it worth while to invest my time into listening to both sides, it’s above my pay-grade to even attempt a rendering of opinion as to who’s the better candidate, overall. However, if I were to cast my vote for the person who exhibited the most well rounded presence and balanced composure, there would be no questioning who I would vote for – and I do think there is merit in this.

Please understand, I’m not suggesting we should ignore what our candidates stand for and avoid finding out what their positions are. But there does come a time when continuing to invest our attention and energy into the 24-hour political news coverage cycle stops being helpful. There comes a time when there’s no more valuable information we can gather. What I’m suggesting, instead, is that perhaps there’s a time when we can stop listening to the words being spoken, turn the debates on mute, and tune into a deeper well of knowledge, that speaks volumes about the sort of person we want in charge of leading this, our great nation.

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