Americans need to learn to start saying ‘no’

David Soler

Face it: This country needs more of the word “no.”

“Do you want to go out tonight?” “No, I don’t have time.” “Are you going to call me back?” “No, I am not interested in you.”

Think how many headaches could be saved. Honestly, “yes,” and especially “maybe,” are hard nuts to crack, and that’s why they are wrecking this country.

But the blame is not entirely on us. We are well aware of the fact that Mr. Yes is so friendly and it becomes very hard to resist him; and of course Mr. Maybe is such a wonderful butt-saving that not using it almost becomes a social impossibility.

But think about it, how many problems would this country dodge with just a simple “no” as an answer; and I am not talking about low-decision situations like grocery shopping or iPod downloads. I am talking about Mr. No being efficiently used among the ruling class.

And of course, all this brings us to the now infamous “slam-dunk” case.

Imagine the scenario back in 2002, when President Bush asked George Tenet in the Oval office straight out: “George, how good is the case against Saddam on weapons of mass destruction?” We all know what that answer turned out to be.

But now, imagine George Tenet clutching his balls and answering: “No, Mr. President. It’s not good. Actually, besides a couple of satellite pictures depicting portable toilets that could be used as weapons, the evidence is nonexistent.” Imagine if this would have been his original answer. Mr. Yes’ friendliness took over, and instead, the “it’s a slam dunk, Mr. President, it’s a slam dunk” answer materialized.

Do you think a simple “no” would have spared 3,000 American deaths, about ten times that number of American injured, billions flushed down those portable toilets and a screwed-up Iraq as a prize? Probably not entirely, but the case for war could have been more fact-based and U.N. supported, and the present outcome could be (like the first Gulf War) more tractable.

Spoken language, for functional purposes, is the sole thing that makes us different from cavemen. But the present dictatorship of Mr. Yes and our submission to it threatens to render this quality as useful as a bicycle for a fish.

Maybe Kent State could hire Dr. No and force him to teach students some classes about “no-ology.” This way, future generations of Americans will be more prepared to bring Mr. Yes’ despotism down and provide better decisions.

David Soler is a biomedical sciences graduate and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].