Accidently saying the wrong thing

Watching an interview of Michelle Obama with Gayle King of CBS, her mother Ms. Robinson joined in. As many know, Ms. Robinson moved to the White House to be there for her grandchildren as their parents traveled and did their jobs.

During the interview, King asked her why she was only on television once. Robinson said the reason was “I did not want to accidentally say the wrong thing.” I greatly admire her self-reflection. This comment struck me as we have a man in the White House who consistently says or tweets the wrong thing.

If the current incumbent would recognize that he is his worst enemy, he may be less inclined to opine on things where he does know the facts. He also would refrain from being hyper-critical of folks who dare criticize him or say things he does not care for. This attacking style toward anyone is wearisome and reflects poorly on the office of President.

Just this week, the US Presideny took criticism of Emmanuel Macron too far indicting the whole country of France. It is similar to when couples argue and they say something cruel in the heat of argument, which they regret. In the case of the President, he makes these cruel remarks on almost a daily basis.

This morning I read yet again a letter from a Trump fan who says the US President is just being “politically incorrect,” making it acceptable behavior. What this man does is well-beyond politically incorrect. He is being an untruthful bully. As I have said many times for several years, people can be politically incorrect without being an asshole.

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22 thoughts on “Accidently saying the wrong thing

  1. The first time I saw Ms. Robinson was on 20 January 2009 during the televised inauguration. I watched more of that than I typically would, so enthralled with Obama and his family, and also knowing it would likely be the last time to ‘say goodbye’ to Senator Ted Kennedy. But back to Ms. Robinson … I watched her and just knew that she was a woman of quiet dignity who would take good care of this family. And she did.

    To your point, you are right about not only Trump, but our society in the era of Trump. We are on our way to being a society where everyone blurts out whatever is on their mind to whomever and in any venue. This will not bode well for friendships or marriages, but even more importantly, it will not bode well for our safety, for words matter and eventually somebody will mouth off one time too many and violence will ensue. Likely Trump would have been assassinated before now for all the times he has said the exact ‘wrong thing’, but for the security measures that come with the office. Hard as most of us try not to, we will occasionally say the wrong thing. Trump doesn’t even try not to, and his fans seem to love it when he talks dirty. Sigh.

    • Jill, you have made several good points. Ms. Robinson has class and dignity. She knows a lesson that is lost on too many – just because you think it, you don’t have to say it. She also knows the adage if you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all. The US President could benefit from her council. Keith

      • Hah! Can you picture Trump taking advice from a WOMAN … and a BLACK WOMAN at that??? You’re right, though … he would do well to emulate any of the Obamas … they all had class, grace and dignity and they knew how to treat people. Plus, they could speak in whole sentences!!!

      • Jill, I never worried like I do now about what the President might do. Class and dignity do not come with money. I have had clients whose CEOs were gracious and egalitarian. I have had some that were imperialistic SOBs. And, many inbetween.

        There are many things that are hard to fathom, but his fans support his truly impudent and childish attacks on others. They would punish their children for acting this way, but it is OK if a 70 plus year old man does it? Keith

  2. Though PC is a dirty word these days among the right, it serves a purpose. It says some things are not acceptable , such as racism , bigotry, and other things that always existed but knew to stay in the woodwork. This president has invited the dregs of society to not only join in but to create chaos. Trump is his own worst enemy, so true Keith, he is also our nations worst enemy. He becomes more unhinged as the Russia probe closes in, stressed over the future of his son and son in law and himself. His behavior in France was horrific . I read today he is furious that his counselors did not advise him of the importance of attending the service at the American cemetery in France. So ignorant and out of touch.

    • Holly, agreed. See my response to Sha’Tara. We need to talk to people like we want to be talked with. We should choose our battles and avoid saying everything that pops in our head. But, we can offer civil disagreement and discourse through diplomatic candor. PC is a label. It can be over-applied at times, but it does not mean the opposite is correct either. Too many want to ditch PC, but what it comes down to is treating others like you want to be treated. But, that includes being diplomatic honest when needed. Thanks so much for your thoughts and counsel, Keith

      • Holly, so true. It should also be said is a person who touts anti-PC really means “I can be anti-PC, but you cannot.” To my larger point, it is not politically correct, but entirely appropriate to say “It is not OK for the US President to lie and bully as much as he does. It harms our Democracy and our relationships around the globe.” Keith

  3. Oh-oh… Keith indirectly called the disloyal buffoon an ass-hole. Well, now we know that “president” is heading for the sheep dip… He’s been in need of delousing for quite some time. Good call, Keith. Make sure the solution is extra potent.

    • Sha’Tara, it was a blanket statement for us all to watch how we say things, but he certainly would qualify with his behavior and words. Diplomatic candor is an art that needs practice. But, the other lesson he and we also should be better at is picking our battles and choosing not to say everything that comes to mind. I think we would be heard more if we did that. I appreciate your counsel. Keith

  4. The Brant Parker/Johnny Hart- team who created ‘BC ‘also created ‘The Wizard of ID’ set in a sort of middle-ages era, with a despotic king.
    One theme was him giving speeches to an assembled group of peasants. In one strip he is saying to a crowd ‘And I intend to create a society without class,’ and the noble next to him is thinking ‘He’s just the guy to do it,’
    Finally seems to have arrived.

      • Brexit?
        Where does one start. The governing party are on the brink if a Civil War (‘Europe’ is always a touchy subject with the Conservatives). The Opposition who are in a position most oppositions only dream about are intent on gazing at their navels. The nation is spilt at least 50/50…Who knows? We are either heading for a classical British ‘fudge’ or one of those self-inflicted and avoidable disasters (I’m thinking of a very watered down version of the privations of WWII and sacrifices to get out of the mess)
        Memories of my childhood when I dutifully attended our Anglican Church on a Sunday afternoon and the vicar at a stage in the service would intone in song:
        ‘Imbue thy minsters with righteousness’
        and the congregation would reply, in song
        ‘And mercifully hear us when we call upon thee’

      • Thanks Roger. From what I have heard, those against the agreement are not as forthcoming with the why’s and the what’s. The perfect is the enemy of the good in all deals. The British are not dealing from a position of strength on this to begin with. Keith

  5. Note to Readers: An old friend often used a quote which has been attributed to Mark Twain, but he may not be the source. “Always tell the truth, as you don’t have to remember as much.”

    We have often speculated that the US President lies so often, he has trouble remembering what he said. In Bob Woodward’s book “Fear,” he recounts the story behind the assertion by former economic advisor Gary Cohn that Trump is a “professional liar.” The President failed to remember a promise to the Australian Prime Minister not to see subject Australia to steel tariffs. When the President failed to grant them the exception and the PM protested, Cohn had to go to great pains to remind the President of his commitment. This is why telling the truth matters.

  6. Dear Keith,

    President Trump’s actions are anything but normal. I worry every time he lies, enacts policies based on lies, and his demonizing others will slowly become normalized. That normalizing of what is obviously wrong has to be resisted.

    For example, he lied about the caravan of refugees traveling from Honduras towards the US Southern being comprised mostly of criminals, gang members, with middle eastern terrorists embedded in their midst. Then he enacted an order to send 5,000 active military to the border even though the caravan was miles away when the Nov. 2018 midterm elections was in process. And the Defense Secretary General Mattis concurred. This was an act that should have been resisted.

    I’m worried that President Trump will find a away around the “posse comitatus, which bars the US military being used for domestic problems. So far these active military personnel have been acting in a supportive roll only. How will Gen. Mattis act then.

    The different government departments cannot give in to the president’s whims and lies.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, this is a perfect metaphor for setting policy off a lie. Some refugees are going to get shot. It may be the military or it may be one of the Trump’s cult militia, but I will not be surprised when it does. And, their deaths can be laid at the feet of Donald J. Trump, just as the Kent State deaths could be laid at the feet of Richard M. Nixon. Keith

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