“You Gotta Understand”

I hate it when people tell me, “You have to understand that…” My immediate visceral response is “no, I do not have to understand….(that you think your position is the right one and that all the others, including mine are wrong…)”

It’s one of my language “pet peeves.”

I was listening to President Biden’s first press conference yesterday, in the car, when he corrected himself in regards to this particular language faux pas. A reporter had asked him a question about the immigration issues at the southern border and his immediate response was, “you have to understand…” and then he stopped himself and said, “no, I recognize that you already understand the issue, what I mean is that the area we have to focus on is…”

I nearly had to slam on my brakes in appreciation of his self-censorship in recognizing that he is dealing with smart people who have a deep understanding of the issue. In most situations, those people who tell us that “we have to understand…” don’t understand that we already have well formed ideas and thoughts about issues and that their little lecturette is probably not going to sway our thoughts, even if they insist that “we have to understand.”

There, I feel better and thank you, Joe Biden!

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