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Good morning class.  Today’ lesson is on tone: negative tone versus positive tone and how it affects the reception of information.  We want to see how the tone one uses to make a point can enhance or detract from the speakers message. Much of this is review. We have looked at this issue before.  I am not certain the lesson stuck, so revisiting it might be in order.

Let’s open our Book of Big Issues to the chapter on illegal immigration.  Turn to page 879, third paragraph, where it begins: Real Estate mogul Donald Trump entered the race for the GOP presidential nomination with harsh words concerning illegal immigration.  Do you see that?  The sentence continues with Trumps remarks.

…When Mexico sends its people, they are not sending their best. They are not sending you. They are sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us. They are bringing drugs and they are bringing crime, and they’re rapists.”

“Some, I assume are good people. But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we are getting,”

In the days since his speech Trump has been embroiled in controversy…etc. etc. Do you see where we are?  Are you following me?

Okay. Class, this is an example of horrible tone.  Can anyone give me an example of how Donald Trump might have said the same thing, but with a different tone? Any hands?  Anyone at all?

How about if Trump had offered something along the lines of…”it is clear that people want to immigrate to America because this is a great country with much to offer.  Some people stream across the border to collect handouts, sure, but most, like past immigrants, come seeking opportunity.  Unfortunately, among those entering illegally are those bad seeds, who bring with them drugs and crime…

Can anyone tell me the difference in the tone?  What advantages might a change in tone offer?  Yes, Carolyn.

Good! The latter version doesn’t paint with a broad brush and emphasizes the good in people.

Anything else?

Exactly! Rather than discussing Donald Trump and how racist the GOP is, we might actually be discussing immigration policy and how to address the tide of illegal immigrants.

Anyone else?  James, yes.

True!  Great point!  Rather than alienate millions of potential voters and giving the Left political ammunition, the GOP might appear to actually want to address the concerns of that community and those voters might still be at the table willing to listen to our ideas.

Anything else? Courtney, go!

I think that is absolutely correct.  Donald Trump is most interested in promoting Donald Trump.  Trump has never been a Conservative and it will behoove Republicans to remember that only a few short years ago, he was donating almost exclusively to Democrat campaigns and threatening to run for president as a Democrat.


I agree.  The Right is being bamboozled and the Left is eating it up. I might add that we ought to jettison this guy before he causes anymore damage.  But what is the lesson to take away? Yes!  Tone is important and the GOP has a horrible issue with tone when it comes to black and latino voters.

The test is next November. Study, as I will NOT be grading on a curve.

Class dismissed.

About Author

Joseph C. Phillips

Joseph C. Phillips was born on January 17, 1962 in Denver, Colorado, USA as Joseph Connor Phillips. He is an actor, known for General Hospital (1994), The Cosby Show (1984) and Strictly Business (1991). He has been married to Nicole since 1994. They have three children.

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