Not This TIme

I am not very familiar with James Carney, but I do like his analysis of the speech Barack Obama gave yesterday. I can already tell that I will be spending many more months pulling gems from this one. I appreciate how James pulled out the choice that Barack left the voters with as it was - unlike most offered by politicians - that really asked the voters to make a decision on where we want our nation to go.

I learned something from Barack yesterday. For the life of me, I could not understand what the fuss was with these comments from his former pastor; I have heard more incendiary words and I bet I have expressed some equally or harder in my day. I was raised to say what I feel and let the chips fall where they may - and a portion of that raising took place in the Black Church (and we always capitalize it just like that).

Still, Barack pointed out something to me - as he always does - he said: "We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America — to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality."

It is that last phrase that caught my ear first when he was talking and then when I went back to read the speech later on this evening: "to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality."

That really speaks to me.

I told you that I was an electrical engineer in college, no? Regardless, one concept that I loved when I first learned it in EE was about communication signals. What we do to transmit a radio wave through the air or a telephone signal across a wire is the same thing we do in a room when one person talks to another or to an assembled group.

We amplify it.

Oh it could be just the "projection" of the speaker as he attempts to reach those folks in the back row (or it could be the projection that my Mother used when she could see that I was not listening to her) or it could be an augmented amplification with a microphone and speaker setup that connects through a soundboard with levelers and the whole nine yards - but it is the exact same thing.

Every form of human communication has some degree of amplification.

We not only use amplification, we need it. But that does not mean there cannot be too much of a good thing. In fact - and anyone who has had to replace the speakers in their car can tell you this - amplification needs to be modulated or it will go from being a constructive force to a destructive one. I have replaced my share of tweeters and woofers to know that for a fact.

Amplification distorts reality.

But although I was aware of that fact in a very real way, I did not often think of how my own words - hyperbolic and at times bouncing off the top end of the volume charts - could transform the truth - as I saw it in my heart - into a distorted, crashing crescendo of noise that was unintelligible to the audience.


Amplification that distorts reality.

I am going to ponder this for quite some time. Thanks for reading these rambling thoughts; you can see I wonder without having someone to act as a guide.

Anyway, it was a great speech. But do not take my word for it; watch it/read it for yourself.

You do have a choice in this election; choose wisely.

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