Today’s post comes from Congressman Loomis Beechly, representing Minnesota’s 9th District – all the water surface area in the state.

Greetings, Constituents!

I’m delighted to be your Congressman and I hope you still like me too, even though I’ve had no major announcements and nothing of importance to say for the past year or so.

We politicians can Tmake news with our strategic use of words, but sometimes I think it’s a sign of deep wisdom to say nothing at all.

That’s why I have to admire Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who is in London, England this week trying to limit the discussion of world events to a single topic – cheese.

To me, the Walker visit to Downton Abbey-land is a portrait in courage.  Not only do they have those accents that make you feel like a dummy, the British carry with them lots of intimidating history and literature that can make a guy from the American midwest feel inadequate.    

Plus, it’s not easy to be in politics here in the age of the internet and instant analysis. As soon as you finish speaking a word, it has already gone around the world twice and is coming up to bite you in the behind.

Silence is strategic. If anything, Governor Walker has already said too much by refusing to say whether or not he believes in evolution.

I’m beginning to think the ideal President for the United States would be a mime.

A mime couldn’t stir up political controversy by using the wrong words, and a mime’s gestures are all subject to interpretation and are eminently spinnable. In struggling to define what they think his shrug over the situation in the Ukraine really meant, analysts would do more damage to themselves than they would to the mime-in-chief.

And when the brickbats really start to fly, he could quickly situate himself behind an impervious pane of glass. Mimes have that power! Which is not to say President Marceau would be untouchable, because all presidents eventually lose their popularity.

The sad truth is that people already kind of hate mimes.  So for any of them, being President would be a promotion, reputation-wise.

I know 2016 is still a long way off, but I’m keeping my ear to the ground for the sound of a promising-but-soft footfall from someone who is willing to toss their beret (real or imagined) into the ring!

Your Congressman
Loomis Beechly

When is it best to say nothing at all?

36 thoughts on “Speechless!”

  1. Whenever I’m unhappy, hurt, offended, worried, upset, anxious, angry, with my daughter. Without exception, expressing any of these emotions will trigger a defensive and irritated reaction. The sad thing is that my mother was just like this, too. I guess that the legacy skipped my generation?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I recently experienced a situation of having the choice of being silent or speaking up. I was doing “research” for a human interest story and several of the bar patrons were engaged in a heated discussion of racial politics centered around the movie Selma. I was the only American-Norwegian in attendance and despite my support for the NAACP (Today is the 106th anniversary of its founding, BTW), didn’t wish to highlight that personal history. Instead, I went to the jukebox and selected “Play That Funky Music, White Boy” by Wild Cherry. That broke the ice and we all had a great time.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. At the unprogrammed portion of meetings of The Society of Friends (Quakers), silence is a hallmark of worship.
    When comforting those suffering from tragedy of all sort, just listening is best, at least while witnessing the initial stages of grief.
    And while enjoying an adult beverage at a local bar in Madison and being within ear shot of a portly Green Bay Packer fan celebrating the previous Sunday victory over the Vikings on a Thursday (Don’t they ever quit?!): silence is golden.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Rise and Shine Baboons! Just do it with a hushed shine.

    Musical rests are well-timed silence that provide the richness of different musical voices, rhythms, and surpises.

    I think the musical rest provides the example of welll-timed silence interspersed with planned noise.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Tomorrow I am giving a 6 hour presentation on play therapy in Sioux Falls. That is a lot of talking. I am sort of nervous about tomorrow, It is the longest presentation I have ever given.


  5. For me, that would be most of the time. I should have been a monk. I see no reason to open my mouth except to actually convey useful communication or necessary facts. Most people’s chit-chat I find annoying. Geez, I sound like a misanthrope.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As someone who has talked too much most of my life, and who now knows it, I’m inclined to favor saying less, or at least thinking twice before speaking up.

    In particular, I think parents should dial down their tendency to criticize their children. Similarly, people in a relationship should consider limiting their complaints to their partner. Experience convinces me that the more we criticize and complain, the less attention others will pay our comments. It is especially counterproductive to declaim our positions on some topic when everyone already knows how we feel.

    Even so, silence is not appropriate all the time. When we screw up, silence is cruel; we should always be ready to say “I’m sorry.” Rather than hacking at a child who does things we dislike we should be ready to compliment children who do things right.

    This is not the same as praising children for accomplishes something so ordinary that the kid senses that we are pandering and should not be trusted. I think experts now agree that the whole “self esteem” thing was overdone a few years ago. There is one sentence my daughter uses over and over when talking to my grandson, but she only does it when it is appropriate, when he has done something worth praising. She says, “Good job, buddy! Good job.”


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