When Silence is Golden…and When It’s Not

One of the greatest freedoms in the United States is the freedom of speech. Or is it?

In this age of political correctness Americans are still free to say whatever we want. That’s in the Constitution of the United States. But just because you can say it doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences. It’s unlikely the consequences will be criminal but there can be consequences none the less. 

The fact that you can say almost anything also doesn’t mean that you should. Some things truly are better left unsaid. The thing is, sometimes it takes even more courage to let it remain unsaid then it takes to actually say it. 

Which brings me to one Mr. Donald Trump. As an American, Mr. Trump is free to say whatever he would like. That doesn’t mean he should. He may very well be right (he may very well be wrong) that a judge of Mexican heritage could have some bias against him. It might even be a subconscious bias. That doesn’t make the judge a bad person or even a bad judge, it makes him human. 

We all have biases and we have them for a huge variety of reasons. If Mr. Trump found himself a different judge that judge too would have some sort of bias. Such is life.

None of that however means Mr. Trump needs to say anything about a biased judge. It was dumb to say, not because it might not be true but because even if it were true there was nothing to be gained by saying it. He would have been better off just being silent on the issue. 

One can only conclude that Mr. Trump simply doesn’t have the courage to remain silent…about anything. He seems to lack the courage all true leaders have to risk looking disconnected by remaining silent when they would really rather say something. This lack of courage puts him in an untenable position when it comes to earning the trust of those he would lead. 

A leader who lacks the courage to remain silent when silence is called for is a very limited leader.

On the other hand there are times when a leader really needs the courage to speak up, to admit a failing and simply accept the consequences that come with it. 

Like maybe when, for whatever reason, you violated standard practices and written guidelines that come with a very trusted position. Instead of just admitting that you messed up royally, and maybe even criminally, and saying you will accept the consequences and try to do much better next time, you pretend it’s no big deal. 

I’m writing of course of Mrs. Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee for the presidency. Her denials, twisted words and revisionist history in the face of a scathing report from her own State Department shows a complete lack of courage to share the full story with those she would lead. Withholding information is a much of a lie as is providing the wrong information.

A leader who lacks the courage to speak up and tell the truth is a very limited leader. 

Sometimes it takes courage to speak and sometimes it takes courage to remain silent. Effective leaders have the courage to do both. One thing seems certain, when Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump say their opponent is not qualified as a leader to be President of the United States they are both correct. 

4 thoughts on “When Silence is Golden…and When It’s Not

  1. Very well said! I think there seems to be a lack of people understanding that there are consequences to their actions. I notice this more so in the younger generation of my children (mid to late 30’s). Not that they have this locked down by any means, it can be seen in all generations.

    Again, owning up to how you act or in what you do, says a lot about that person and many people cannot admit they were wrong. Just a simple ‘I’m sorry I messed up,’ is usually enough.

    I think all this comes with being self-aware of not only yourself but of others.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I agree 100%, self-awareness is absolutely key. So many people in leadership positions believe they can’t be wrong simply because of their title or position. Sadly, they couldn’t be more wrong. It’s going to be an “interesting” election year.

  2. I totally agree with you, A leader must know when to speak up and when to shut up. Both of these candidates are not good leaders, both don’t offer America what is needed. I predict a low voter turn out come November

    1. Thanks for your comment. I also have a feeling that most voters will be voting “against” and not “for” one of these candidates. Pretty sad!

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