On Being Decisive And Donald Trump’s Use of “Maybe”


Are you a decisive person? Do you make up your mind about something and stick to it? Or is your favorite word “maybe?” I can tell you that this blogger has a definite dislike, perhaps hatred, for the word “maybe.”

Based on the 2016 Random House Dictionary, the word maybe means possibility or perhaps if used as an adverb; a possibility or uncertainty if used as a noun. Nothing decisive about any of that, is there?

How do you like it, dear readers, if you ask someone a question and their response is “maybe,” or “possibly,: or “it’s a possibiity.” Do you know any more than you did when you asked the question in the first place? No, you don’t. This blogger considers herself a fairly decisive person. I think I usually can evaluate a situation and make a decision fairly quickly. It’s not always the right decision, but it’s a decision nevertheless. I don’t think I leave people hanging with a “maybe” very often. Sometimes, I have to look at my calendar and I have to put someone off and give them a decision after I look at my calendar, but I try to carry my calendar with me so that won’t happen.

Donald Trump’s speeches are an example of the power of the negative power of the word “maybe.” Slate.com runs a column called Lexicon Valley on the power of language. The author, Andrew Kahn, analyzes Trump’s speeches and his powerful use of the word “maybe.” He categories Trump’s use of the word “maybe” by Levels. For example Trump’s Level I “maybe” happened when he was discussing President Obama’s birth certificate and he says something “Maybe It Says He’s a Muslim.” Of course, Trump doesn’t know that, but the word “maybe” plants just enough doubt in the minds of his supporters.

Kahn’s Level 2 “maybe,” is not premeditated like a Level 1. In referencing the Orlando shootings, Trump suggested that maybe President Obama was soft on terrorism. There are other examples. The Level 2 maybe shows uncertainly about what this candidate thinks and believes but fires up his supporters. That is his point.

Then there is the Level 3 maybe which Trump uses when he wants to portray modesty and humility. He says that his campaign and support is a phenomenon that has “maybe” never happened in history.

The word “maybe” can be powerful in a negative way as candidate Trump proves. He has used it masterfully. #realDonaldTrump #amwriting #writing #blogging #dailyprompt





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