What We End Up Saying When We Point Fingers

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Chances are if you caught the news this morning you saw the picture of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer pointing her finger at President Obama as they stood near Air Force One in Phoenix on Wednesday.

finger pointing

They were both smiling in the photo, but the body language that stands out is her finger wagging at him. We've probably all pointed a finger at someone. As a mom these are not my proudest moments. In fact, I've learned pointing fingers at kids (or adults) doesn't work. It usually backfires. It's almost like waving a mini white flag.

Kids see right through the finger pointing. When I point, I usually am so frustrated that I am unable to say the best words to make my point. And if somehow I miraculously manage to utter the right words, the pointing finger is far too distracting.

Back to the president and the governor. In the age of cell phone cameras ready to snap a photo anywhere and anytime, you would think we would learn the lesson. Photo ops are everywhere. And photos often speak louder than words -- or worse, say the exact opposite of what you really meant to say.

Before their heated meet and greet on the tarmac, I could have guessed the tensions would be high on both sides. I'm not going to get into all the political ramifications of the photo. In a nutshell, the president and the governor publicly disagree over a few things such as border relations. Her tell-all book, Scorpions for Breakfast, even goes as far as to scold the president for lecturing her, and goes on to say the Obama administration ignores the illegal immigration issue because "migrants will help Mr. Obama register more Democratic votes," according to NYTimes.com.

Stop. Rewind. If she complains in her book about being upset because she was being lectured at, I wonder why she thought it was a good idea to lecture with her scolding finger? And this is when I think the finger pointing backfires. Her intended message was probably lost with a hand gesture.

Was her finger pointing in the face of President Obama disrespectful? Did it backfire and make it impossible to get her point across? Or do we just roll our eyes? She is getting tons of press about her finger pointing. And she has not apologized.

What do you think? More on this topic here:

A Frosty Meeting for Obama and Arizona Governor - NYTimes.com

Jan Brewer gets an earful from Obama in Ariz. - CBS News

Ariz. Governor Jan Brewer squares off with Obama - The Washington Post

Jan Brewer 'breathless' after encounter with Obama - latimes.com

Pointing fingers getting out of hand? – This Just In - CNN.com Blogs 

Obama-Brewer tiff fires up cyberspace: USAToday

(Photo: Cell phone photo of TV coverage with post processing by me.)

~ Chris Olson

Writer and illustrator

Momathon Blog: the 24/7 mommy marathon–on two feet or four wheels


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