It’s not what they say, it’s what they don’t say.

This was inspired in part by the news I was listening to on my drive home. They were talking about the memorial services being held at Ground Zero in New York today, and how efforts have always been made to try and keep them non-political, and the issue that has created this year with Rudy Giulianni showing up to make a speech, him being a presidential candidate this year and relying heavily on the 9/11 tragedy.

But enough of that. What it got me thinking about was something a professor said to a Communications class of mine once… “The most important thing is what’s not being said”. And that brought to mind my impression of oh so many political debates I’ve managed to see. Have you ever paid close attention to these things, to what’s being asked and what’s being answered? A debate is just an example. Just turn on the news. Somewhere, someone’s bound to be asking someone else a simple pointed question. Go check. I’ll wait.

It continues to astound me how we (and by we I’m referring to the media, our voice to politicians) continue to simply accept the answers we’re given, when more often than not we aren’t even given an answer to the question asked. There is a difference between a response to a question and an answer to a question.

This is an answer:

“Is the sky blue?”
“Yes.”

This is a response:

“Is the sky blue?”
“That’s a great question. A lot of people are concerned about the sky these days, as I am. In fact, just this morning I was talking to mother in Amherst and she was asking me about the sky and I’ll tell you what…she was concerned. Concerned that sometimes it’s blue and sometimes it’s black and sometimes it’s gray. But does that put food on her table? Does that provide quality daycare for her children so that she can work? My opponent would have you believe that it does. He’d have you believe that his plan for revitalizing this community will lead to more jobs and lower taxes but that facts are that his numbers just don’t add up. Who’s going to end up paying for all his programs? You are, that’s who. He’s mortgaging your future against a giant gamble that’s never going to pay off. Just consider that.”

We get fed a steady diet of responses dressed up as answers, but we can rarely get a direct answer to a simple question.

Just listen some time. You’d be surprised at what you don’t hear.

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