A complex world

We live in a complex world, and talking about it is not easy. When someone asks us about a decision (for example, “Why did you switch jobs?”), we usually give a short answer.  But we are aware of the many factors that we weighed, and we know that a longer answer would be more accurate and would present the complex truth more clearly.

Of course, if we do not know the complex truth, it’s easy to give a short answer.  Think of the answer a novice might give to the question, “How can I take down that kitchen wall?”  That short answer probably will ignore too many factors and will lead to real trouble if we try to put it into action.

We’re experiencing this tension between simple answers and complex truths in the current presidential contest.

Hillary Clinton tends to give long answers.  She gets into the details of policy, knows established procedures, supports decisions with specific evidence, considers the consequences of words and actions. This is how she has operated her whole life, and how she now is laying out a comprehensive plan for her presidency.  Her answers may not be clever sound bites, but they do arise from a solid grasp of the complex world we live in.

Some people feel that her way of speaking is too calculated. Jill Abramson speaks to this perception. Abramson is a well-respected professional journalist who has, over the years, investigated the full range of Hillary Clinton’s activities (business, political, family, charitable foundation).  Abramson has concluded, “Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest and trustworthy.”

We know the other presidential candidate is giving us simple answers.  But are they based on deep knowledge of our laws and the world? Are they practical? Are they accurate? Politico has declared Trump the least honest politician they have ever analyzed.

Take another listen to these two candidates. Which one reveals a better understanding of our complex world and a thoughtful, honest approach to leadership within it?

Most of us wish there were short, simple answers to problems or challenges we’re facing, but that’s not how the real complex world works.

Martha McGovern