We live in a world dominated by tone of voice. It doesn’t matter what you say, it doesn’t matter why you say it, it doesn’t matter what evil you mask behind what you say, it doesn’t matter if you lie in what you say—it only matters how you say it. That overemphasis on “teamwork” and “going along to get along” has downsized the necessary disruptors that made companies successful and made the country too anemic to deal with the political environment today.
Everyone gets verbally abusive, given the right circumstances. We all want progress in some area. Our squabbling is usually about which areas of life and country need the most progress. When things don’t go our way, we start verbally bashing.
For far too long, we thought politics were okay because the president didn’t get verbally abusive. But, half of the nation was fed up with mellow tone of voice without progress where they wanted it, so they elected someone who had the anti-nice tone. Not by will or cognition, but by instinct, the other half of the nation said, “That’s not the correct presidential tone!” Now, the nation is in “verbal abuse” mode, all because we sacrificed what matters on the altar of tone of voice.
Yes, I’m suggesting that part of Tump’s election was due to frustration with the Voice Tone cult. Like him or not, he’s there thanks to Bush and Obama every bit as much as that CEO who fired essential talent for not talking to him the right way.
Trump knows just the button to push to get everyone riled up, either with him or against him. He breaks the unwritten rules of “tone politics”, gets votes, gets headlines, then sneaks a bill through congress, and no one notices.
We wouldn’t have been so sensitive to fighting, overreacting, distracting, supporting, hating, judging, or otherwise obsessing over just one man if tone of voice didn’t matter quite so much.
Then there’s post-presidential politics.
Before Trump, criticizing the incumbent president was a task unofficially reserved for Jimmy Carter. Former presidents are “supposed” to stay out of the spotlight. That’s “presidential”, right? But, both Bush and Obama have joined Carter in acting non-presidential, all because Trump acts non-presidential.
But, it’s not about acting presidential. It’s about oversensitivity. Anyone in distress can get verbally abusive, which might be why we worship the god of tone so much.