And the winner is…The High Road!

Ideas. Insight. Inspiration.

And the winner is…The High Road!

November 4, 2008 Politics 6

For anyone who doubted the influence played by the art of persuasion in the USA Presidential contest, the answer is now in.  The high road wins.  Barack Obama was the better communicator.  Throughout the campaign, he dealt with double standards and mixed messages, smear attacks on his reputation and hyperbolic labeling, and kept going forward with grace and aplomb.  He stayed on message, and kept the message short and sweet.  He spoke to people’s motivations, needs, interests and values.He used humor well as seasoning, but never with too sharp an edge.  He showed due respect to his opponent.  His rhetoric was empowered.  His phrasing often inspiring.  A guy with a thin resume and no reason to expect a win behaved as if a win was not only possible, but in everyone’s interest.  All of this combined to make a campaign the likes of which we have not seen in this country in a very long time, if ever.  

What did his opponent do?  All that good will that John McCain brought with him, an unbeatable back story, much support of political moderates (I include myself in that category) from his previous campaign, and a powerful reputation as a guy who marches to his own drummer…a formidable opponent, the election was his to lose.  

And lose it he did.  Missed steps, missed opportunities, and a squandering of good will by alienating the middle ground voters he most needed.  The promotion of hatred and the poisoning of the electorate were his methods of choice.  He ran against instead of for.  He failed to engage our motivations, interests, values and needs, and instead ran a Karl Rove style 20th century divisive campaign at a time when Americans wanted to come together.   I just watched the speeches made by each candidate.  

John McCain, in his concession speech, moved me deeply.  Others watching with me had the same reaction:  Where was that guy?  I could have supported that guy!  He was powerful, gracious, honest, authentic, and his love of country was obvious.  (His crowd took some calming.  I found them sorely lacking in the good sportsmanship that we try to teach our kids for dealing with loss.  Eventually McCain got through to them.  He did this through non-verbal disapproval.  He waived it away and they got the message.  He was honorable, they were lacking in honor.  That got ’em. They stopped booing and began to hear a truth that McCain hadn’t told them clearly during his campaign – that Barack Obama is a good man who also wants to do good for a country that he loves.  I know that John McCain is the good man I have always believed him to be.  He ran an awful campaign.  He failed to listen to his own better angels.  Tonight, he reclaimed my confidence in him with his speech.  

Barack Obama gave an historic speech, an amazing speech, and demonstrated real mastery of the art of persuasion. I found it to be so connected to my own values and deep yearning for my country, so inclusive, so honest intellectually and emotionally, that I confess, I was smitten.  I have a rule about not falling in love with politicians.  But tonight, I feel love.  I couldn’t be happier for my country and for our world.  He said it clearly.  To those who seek to tear down this world, we will defeat you.  His campaign proves the case.  

I come away from Barack Obama’s speech with the sense that this is a defining moment in American history, and in human history.  A moment when we stop backing into the future, turn and face it, embrace it, claim it, and shape it using our skills, our passion and our faith.  I believe that a new dawning is possible.  I believe it includes young and old, conservative and progressive because it is transpartisan in nature.  We need the best of all of us, and he called on us for that, in the finest traditions of the can-do attitude that defines America still for so much of the world.  I’m astonished at the feel of this moment, almost breathless with anticipation.   I feel like, in some ways, I have witnessed a miracle of sorts.  It’s the moon landing all over again, only better.  

As far as my work on this blog about persuasive communication skills is concerned,  I’m now more certain than ever that the art of persuasion is the new pre-requisite for people serious about creating positive change.  Here’s hoping that the winner of this grueling contest can deliver the kind of change he has promised.  Here’s hoping he can do so without us being our own worst enemy as we have been these last 8 years.  I wish the President Elect and his family safety and Godspeed.   It feels like there is a signpost up ahead.  It says, ‘Welcome to the 21st century and the future of humanity.’ I’m glad to share this journey with you. 

Back in a couple of days,



6 Responses

  1. My humble musical letter to president Obama:


  2. Gary C Smith says:

    It took a lot of persuasion to turn out the masses who voted. And we did!
    I turn 61 at the end of this year.
    It has been 40 years and 6 month since I last felt any hope in the American government.
    For two thirds of my life I have not felt the joys and pride of being on the team.
    Oh there were times, the way we felt the pride and how we partied for the Bi-Centennial.
    The Viet Nam war ended and some friends came home alive, but suffering.
    A lying president was impeached and resigned and a really nice guy from Georgia was president. But he was as inept as the Ford he defeated.
    The cowboy president brought down the wall and ended what I thought was to be the end of the world in nuclear holocaust. That was relief and I felt the need to take a serious look at the future and Raleen and I invested in America with IRA’s & SEP’s.
    During the Clinton era I grew to expect long-term business boom, conflict resolution, sex scandals, but any hope that may have been growing collapsed with his successor and the dot coms, collapse.
    All to be further buried under the rubble of 911.
    And it got worse when we attacked a country. We are the aggressor. I don’t know if shame is the opposite of hope, but I am ashamed, and the whole planet suffers from our aggression. We had become the evil empire pointing our finger at others, winning a war, and losing more peace.
    BUT election day I felt that hope at 3:33 am when I got ready to vote.
    It felt like Christmas, a special gift was coming, it was under the tree and all I needed to do was vote and the package would open.
    I felt joy at my polling place, and hope with all those who wore there I voted stickers.
    NPR talked about 80+% voter turn out. My wife and I both cried.
    At 4:30 PST election day I wanted that package, and I feel the fears and doubts of there not being a present under the tree as large as a bike.
    BUT just the taste of hope and the civility of waiting, of the candidates having fought the fairest campaign in the last eight years and that maybe 80% of US voted.
    I feel the possibility that we, US, have the power and guts to get out, and fairly elect leaders.
    I now sit in front of the computer and say, whatever happens in the next few hours, Let’s JUST BE NICE.
    Let US win or lose like we were taught, shake hands and agree to disagree.
    Let US lead, as in Let US no more blame, excuses, spun stories of someone else did it to US.
    No matter what happens, it can’t happen to US again if we believe in the hope of change, of responsibility of accountability of the creative power of our imagination to WE THE PEOPLE, in order to form a more perfect union, are tasking back the country.
    I HOPE we now know it is a process that we must work at always.
    Dr K your blogs are mirroring the hopes of millions of Lightworkers and I HOPE you have a place in this administration and continue to as Superman’s mission: “To fight for truth, justice and the American Way of Life”.
    Gary C Smith

    • Gary
      Thanks for the comment and observation, and your support for my work, too! It’s an exciting time to be alive, and though most people I talk to suspect we’re going to have some tough times ahead of us, good people are ready and willing to work for good, and it seems to me that things are going to work out.
      be well

      [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  3. iman says:

    good review. we hope the best result for America’s elect President. we hope for a better America for a better world.

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