FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bush’s Troubling Non-Verbal Communication

by RAYMOND J. LAWRENCE

A very significant part of human communication is non-verbal. Anyone who attends only to words, and ignores the non-verbals is apt to be blind-sided.

The non-verbal aspects of President George W. Bush’s final State of the Union address were remarkable. He offered numerous winks and nods, with knowing smiles, to the audience at various times and in various directions, presumably but not necessarily directed to particular individuals in the audience. It was not possible from television viewing to tell who may have been the intended individual recipients, or even whether the winks and nods were directed toward anyone in particular.

It probably matters little whether the President’s gestures were aimed at individuals or simply to everyone in general. The substance of his non-verbal gestures was in either case deeply troubling. Here was a president discussing lives sacrificed in war, the continuing sacrifice he was asking for years to come, the economic downturn and the critical need for action, and other matters that are deeply troubling to citizens of this country. But the President through all this was occasionally winking, nodding and smiling as if he were an adolescent schoolboy who just played a prank on the teacher.

Perhaps the President’s self definition as prankster was in fact the substantive, though subliminal, message in the State of the Union address. He has indeed played a six-year prank on the nation, taking the country into a war with no end by passing off phony data as fact, and he likely believes he will never be called before the bar of justice to account for his prank.

Or perhaps the prank that inspired him to feel so full of himself was that his highly touted tax reductions had been a windfall to the wealthy like himself and a meager sop to the average wage earner.

On the other hand, perhaps his prank was forcing Nancy Pelosi (front and center on television) and her fellow Democrats to stand and applaud for claims that surely they surely knew were false, for fear of appearing unpatriotic

Or perhaps it was all of these little pranks and more that inspired George W Bush to grin, wink and nod during the most solemn political liturgy of the year. Maybe it was all of the above and more, possibly including pranks we are yet to hear about.

RAYMOND J. LAWRENCE is an Episcopal cleric for 46 years, recently retired Director of Pastoral Care, New York Presbyterian Hospital, and author of numerous opinion pieces in newspapers in the U.S., and author of the recently published, Sexual Liberation: The Scandal of Christendom (Praeger).

 

 

 

 

RAYMOND J. LAWRENCE is an Episcopal cleric, recently retired Director of Pastoral Care, New York Presbyterian Hospital, and author of numerous opinion pieces in newspapers in the U.S., and author of the recently published, Sexual Liberation: The Scandal of Christendom (Praeger). He can be reached at: raymondlawrence@mac.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 22, 2017
Paul Street
Russiagate and the Democratic Party are for Chumps
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer, the Progressive Caucus and the Cuban Revolution
Gavin Lewis
McCarthyite Anti-Semitism Smears and Racism at the Guardian/Observer
Kathy Kelly
Reality and the U.S.-Made Famine in Yemen
Kim C. Domenico
Ending Our Secret Alliance with Victimhood: Toward an Adult Politics
L. Ali Khan
Profiling Islamophobes
Calvin Priest
May Day: Seattle Educators Moving Closer to Strike
David Swanson
Jimmy Breslin on How to Impeach Trump
Dave Lindorff
There Won’t Be Another Jimmy Breslin
Jonathan Latham
The Meaning of Life
Robert Fisk
Martin McGuinness: From “Super-Terrorist” to Super Statesman
Steve Horn
Architect of Federal Fracking Loophole May Head Trump Environmental Council
Binoy Kampmark
Grief, Loss and Losing a Father
Jim Tull
Will the Poor Always Be With Us?
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s “March Massacre” Budget
Joe Emersberger
Rafael Correa and the Future of Ecuador: a Response to James McEnteer
March 21, 2017
Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt
On Being the “Right Kind of Brown”
Kenneth Surin
God, Guns, Gays, Gummint: the Career of Rep. Bad Bob Goodlatte
David Rosen
Popular Insurgencies: Reshaping the Political Landscape
Ryan LaMothe
The Totalitarian Strain in American Democracy
Eric Sommer
The House Intelligence Committee: Evidence Not Required
Mike Hastie
My Lai Massacre, 49 Years Later
James McEnteer
An Era Ends in Ecuador: Forward or Back?
Evan Jones
Beyond the Pale
Stansfield Smith
First Two Months in Power: Hitler vs. Trump
Dulce Morales
A Movement for ‘Sanctuary Campuses’ Takes Shape
Pepe Escobar
Could Great Wall of Iron become New Silk Roadblock?
Olivia Alperstein
Trump Could Start a Nuclear War, Right Now
David Macaray
Norwegians Are the Happiest People on Earth
March 20, 2017
Michael Schwalbe
Tears of Solidarity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit, Nationalism and the Damage Done
Peter Stone Brown
Chuck Berry: the First Poet of Rock and Roll
Paul J. Ramsey
What Trump’s Travel Ban Reveals About His Long-Term Educational Policy
Norman Pollack
Two Nations: Skid Rows vs. Mar-a-Lago
Michael Brenner
The Great Game: Power Politics or Free Play?
Sam Gordon
Falling Rate of Profit, What about Some Alienation?
Jack Random
Sidetracked: Trump Diaries, Week 8
Julian Vigo
The Limits of Citizenship
James Graham
French Elections: a Guide for the Perplexed
Jeff Mackler
The Extraordinary Lynne Stewart
Lee Ballinger
Chuck Berry: “Up in the Morning and Off to School!”
Binoy Kampmark
Romancing Coal: The Adani Obsession
Nyla Ali Khan
Cultural Syncretism in Kashmir
Chad Nelson
The Politics of Animal Liberation: I Can’t Quit You Gary Francione
Weekend Edition
March 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
John Reynolds
Israel and the A-Word
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail