The art of keeping our mouth shut is decreasing at a fast pace in today’s world. For every piece of information we hear, we feel like we have to give our opinion, to say what we believe the truth is.
The main problem with talking, writing and expressing our thoughts can be devastating. One can lose his job. Like in the Kathy Griffin’s story. Worse things happened to people throughout history because they couldn’t shut their mouths.
Most of the time, saying nothing is much more powerful than speaking our feelings.
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.” –Abraham Lincoln
James A. Garfield made strong move towards winning the elections when he didn’t say a thing despite allegations being thrown at him.
In 1872, James A. Garfield was a accused of having a role in the Credit Mobilier’s scandal ( The scandal was in two parts. The construction company charged the railroad far higher rates than usual, and cash and $9 million in discounted stock were given as bribes to 15 powerful Washington politicians, including the Vice-President, the Secretary of the Treasury, four senators, and the Speaker and other members of the House. Read more about it here. ).
He was being accused of earning $329 in stock dividends. The Democrats wanted to exploit this issue printed this number on every sidewalks, building, and streets. They were even able to make their way into the homes and offices of the Republican administration. Including the secretary of the treasury, and, more surprisingly, in the bed of the secretary of state.
When this move didn’t prove effective, the Democrats created a new scandal. At the height of the campaign, the editor of a New York Newspaper found on his desk a letter written by Garfield showing his support for Chinese immigration. “Individuals or companies have the right to buy labor where they get it cheapest.”
The issue of Chinese immigration was a hot topic that could threaten the future of any presidential candidate who argued for it.
Yet, after some investigation, the plot behind the forgery was revealed.
Throughout the entire campaign, despite being attacked from every corners, being accused of many crimes, Garfield remained silent.
His silence propelled strength, wisdom and self-confidence. Instead of hurting his reputation, these allegations made him stronger and his supporters grew at an exponential rate.
Even some lifelong Democrats switched sides and decided to join Garfield. “Support Garfield for President, as the best and fittest thing for an honest and patriotic citizen to do.”
The art of remaining silent is an art we have to cultivate everyday.
You can grab his biography here.