“Unfortunately we don’t have an articulate president!” This statement and critism about our president I saw in a Facebook thread this morning. It’s mostly a true statement, and I’ll not argue against it by itself or in context. But we should not confuse having the ability to speak fluently and coherently with having the ability to express our ideas or “sell” a concept with comprehensible skill. Nor should we equate verbal skills with intellectual giftedness.
This is a personal issue for me. It’s like having my own oysters kicked when I hear of people criticised for their lack of verbal eloquence. It makes me righteously angry and you had better get out of my way when you do so!
We can all comb our hair, brush our teeth even get a makeover to help us appear eloquent. But our delinquent verbal or social skills are not always laziness or indicative of our gifted minds. Yes gifted! We all have the ability to think! And most of us have the ability to understand views, concepts, theories, facts, emotions, etc.. And although we may not have the verbal eloquence of an elite, silver tongued Yale law school grad, we know what we mean in our own minds, even if we cannot express our words eloquently.
I’m a frusturated speaker and a retarded preacher! God never gave me the gift. I can go over my words in my mind a thousand times, but when I open my mouth my tongue reveals disjointed, sometimes incomprehensible, jibberish. In other words I can say what I don’t mean (just as my wife) and create misunderstanding and confusion; a psychologist might say I have symptoms of communicative dysforia. You know the more common saying, “He’s certainly no rocket scientist” best describes me.
I grew up with this sociological inadequacy and it made me self conscience to some degree. Fortunately I was athletic, and I had football skills, so grunting was acceptable, but you had to be cute, funny or a star player to be popular; I scored in at least one of these, not everybody is as fortunate. As I got older I still struggled internally. I realized with training, financial success, even fearlessness, I was not going to be a smooth speaker. I was destined, as President Trump, to repeat myself, have pregnant pauses, slur my pronunciations, and make poor word choices to make myself clear. Speaking was, and is, frustrating and it may be why I like to write. My son has a favorite and familiar saying when he finally understands my verbal assaults, “Ok, I get it dad, quit beating the dead horse,” he says.
So to all of God’s people who cannot fully express themselves in graceful utterances: Expressing oneself readily, clearly, and effectively is not in the least an indication of your intelligence or indicative of the value of your ideas. Remember that!
The quick-witted and slick tongued are not free to be merciless nor dismissively arrogant, there are accountants in heaven. We know in our own hearts what is right, what is good, and what is acceptable. And the best arguments do not have to be eloquent to be understood or believed. So while it it refreshing and mostly entertsining to hear from an eloquent speaker or read a specially gifted author, we should never dismiss a person of any stripe for their lack of eloquence. In fact I look forward to hear from those less fortunate, for in them is the same God that created me. In them are thoughts, emotions, imaginations, ideas, and better ways than I can ever think or be. Thank you President Trump for being real! Thank you all the people who are tongue tied, poorly spoken and incapable of giving coherent, clear, and effective expression of your ideas and feelings. I love you as I love myself!