By their words you shall know them

2016

Why? Because words, no matter how impromptu they might sound, are always initiated by the speaker’s own thoughts. ‘Mis-speaking’ - unless you catch yourself repeating information from another source that you had promised to keep to yourself - is an impossibility because words that go against the grain of your own beliefs or opinions would never enter your head. Which leads me to remark on the meaning behind the words of one Donald Trump.

Trump does not dissemble. His words come direct from his inner-thought-dump. He sees no need to cloak them in pleasantries or quote other sources to vindicate them, for Donald Trump, who is self-centeredness personified, knows that, in the words of T. S. Eliot, “only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go”.

Over the Centuries would be leaders, of the same unusual stamp have delivered the same unusual (if not psychotic) message to a gullible public. As Eliot wrote in Sweeney Agonistes:

“But if you understand or if you don’t
That’s nothing to me, and nothing to you
We all gotta do what we gotta do.”

The coherence and fluency with which that message was always camouflaged could de-stabilize and persuade even the most intelligent, knowledgeable and questioning members of any audience to join those causes. Only once each speaker gained power did supporters realize that they had made themselves subservient to a demagogue.

What is most surprising about Trump’s success on the 21st Century stump is that although those attending can watch and hear themselves undergoing his grandstanding in real time, the spoken word is still able to bedazzle them.

For two hundred and forty years, America has chosen for President candidates who are both left-of-centre and right-of-centre. But a ‘self-in-centre’ candidate is an entirely new concept.

Before it is too late, voters need to ponder other examples of such oratory from recent history and question seriously what value such a candidate - once sequestered in the White House and completely under his own spell - is likely to be to those left outside in the Land of the Free.

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About The Author

Janet Howd
Janet Howd

Janet Howd is a voice coach who works with corporate, academic, legal, theatrical and private clients in the UK, North America, Australia and Europe.