The missing 5 C’s in Mr. Trump’s Vocabulary: Community, Consensus, Collaboration, Cooperation, Collective.
Language is a strange thing. It is symbolic. Language is never the thing itself. When you say “car”, it is up to your imagination to conjure up the image as the word is not the car.
Philosophical b.s.? No. Words matter. The words you choose – and those you don’t – matter. The old adage of ‘say what you mean and mean what you say’ matters… (Or so we thought.)
It is possible to speak to someone is good, perfect English and simply because of the words chosen end up literally speaking past each other… and so it is with Mr. Trump. He may claim to speak the language of the common folks; and, he may claim to rebuke ‘political correctness’. But, the words he chooses – and those he doesn’t – say so much.
These 5 C’s are examples of words he seems to avoid with a passion, never uttering them.
- Community. The idea that the whole is more than the sum of its part.
- Consensus. The idea that while ‘majority rules’, it is important to positively engage those that disagree with the majority.
- Collaboration. The idea that co-laboring is effective, if not always efficient.
- Cooperation. The idea that helping each other succeed is a good thing.
- Collective. The idea that equity in laboring is important; that we ultimately work for the common good.
Interesting that the antonyms of these 5 C’s are the 5 D’s that seem to guide the language of Mr. Trump:
- Instead of highlighting Community, he seems to highlight Dissimilarity.
- Instead of seeking Consensus, he seems to seek Disagreement.
- Instead of pursuing Collaboration, he seems to pursue Disunion.
- Instead of wanting Cooperation, he seems to want Discord.
- Instead of praising the Collective, he seems to praise Division.
Of course, there is a thread going through these words that is – seemingly in his view – their antithesis: the absence of the “I”, as in Individual. This warped sense of individualism as a dogmatic stance is the root of rampant selfishness, win at all costs, and the “it is all about me” attitude.
To those of us who grew up in a faith and family where togetherness matters, where taking care of each other matters, and where helping others matters, this dogmatic individualism does not sit well.
Mind you, we get that we have to “look out for ourselves”; but, we also get that “no person is an island”, and we as human beings have an embedded sense of wishing others – and working for others to be – well.
To us, the 5 C’s matter. The absence of these words in the lexicon of Mr. Trump and his incoming team is a values difference that we can not dismiss. We will bring these words to our interactions with Mr. Trump’s team. We will seek to incorporate them in the messages to the public and in policies that guide government action.
The absence of these words from the public realm would be yet another unfortunate, unhealthy – and yes, unamerican – reality of the next four years.