Not listening? Good!

This goes back a ways, but one thing that really frosted my pumpkin was Hillary Clinton’s announcement video which ran on her website at the time she got into the presidential race. (I’ve got money on her becoming the nominee, by the way, so I have reason to wish her success despite her pissing me off.) She said, essentially, “I’m going to be listening to you as I travel this great country of ours, learning your concerns, participating in a conversation with the American people, blah blah blah.” (I think she might have actually said “blah blah blah.”)

You know what? I don’t want my presidential candidates to listen. I want them to lead. You tell me what you want to do–I’ll decide if where you want to take this country is where I want it to go. Surely in a primary field of eight candidates, if we can get those candidates actually to tell us what their convictions are (as opposed to what they’ve learned in focus groups, polling, and our great “national dialogue”), we each can find one who can persuade us that his or her agenda is the one to follow.we_listen.jpg

I don’t want to be mirrored. I want to be inspired.

This whole “listening” thing is so transparently borrowed from the world of advertising anyway, where it has become a staple in communications from healthcare to the “forest products industry” (if only I were kidding) listen1.jpgand everything in between. I’m sick of being listened to, dammit. I listen to myself 24 hours a day–I don’t need politicans doing it too. I need them to tell me what their inner voices are telling them.

My hope about Hillary, the thing that if I were convinced of it could get me behind her with my vote and not just my betting money, is that when she says she’s listening, she’s lying.

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2 Comments on “Not listening? Good!”

  1. Mr Wonderful says:

    Well said. I want to kill people, like Tina Brown or Hillary, who talk about “the American conversation.” I don’t, of course, because that would be wrong, and it’s illegal.

    What you could add is that, even if they are “listening,” it’s destined to be in the service of a process in which they listen, and then reply, “I understand what you want. But here is why that’s impossible…” (Or “not practical” or “not do-able at this time,” etc.)

    Not that they’re guaranteed to implement what they put forth when they lead. But listening is one way to pacify and later ignore the electorate. Then, when they fuck up, they can say, “What’s your problem? I listened, didn’t I?”

  2. Steffen says:

    How very interesting! Indeed, it is turning things upside down, because one of the great thing in humanity is speaking ones mind and finding out, how it resonates with other people’s thoughts, I think. That is – in my view – part of maintaining ones sanity, the experience of consensus.


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