Thursday, April 15, 2010

Language Use in political discuss: What the political consultants and Lobbyists are doing to our Democracy

“I love this country”. “We have boundless opportunities.” These are two statements often made by many Americans who subscribe to our Democracy. They are also statements subscribed to by members of the militias spread across the country, tea party members, anti-tax groups and pro tax groups. You might also be surprised that many in the political fringes, including television news and radio personalities, who use infuriating and destabilizing languages, consultants who serve cohorts of political parties’ extremists, and numerous hate groups, will also tell you they love this country. Who then shall we believe? Is it the lawmaker who takes language use notes to kill a bill that is designed to reform the financial upheaval that nearly brought the country to her knees about two years ago? Is it the radio talk-show personality who considers anyone who does not share his opinion on any political issue, a socialist, communist or a bastard that must be voted out of office; or, ‘that one’ that we must take our country from? Is it the lawmakers who are so subjective in their assessments of public policies that they allow politics to becloud their sense of judgment? Is it the politician who rises every morning and sees all issues through the prism of his political affiliation, Democratic or Republican? All these questions we must now answer, in light of our current experience with the tea party, the slow moving financial reform bill and the climate bill that has hit a big bump in congress. Until we are able to provide answers to these series of questions, it may just be difficult to move ahead with many of the domestic agendas that are crucial to the survival of this Democracy under the Obama’s Whitehouse.

It is no secret that many politicians use language consultants in writing their speeches and making comments, even on bills under consideration in congress. What would have been considered as treasonable language in the past, are readily used by some politicians on both aisle of congress? Languages that would have made previous generations of political leaders in this country shriek, has been randomly thrown around by some leaders of political parties in congress of today. Daily, you hear reported that a certain legislator said this or that regarding the President of the United States. Some of those things that are said are not only hurtful; they are languages that are better imagined than said, if we live in a cordial environment. However, it seems what is considered as cordial in some civilized communities, is foreign to some politicians or groups of persons. Interestingly enough, some of these languages are watering down to the general public. For example, how do you explain the comments of a chief executive of a coal mining firm that killed 29 of his workers, saying the President of the United States is uninformed about the laxities on safety issues in his firm?

Literarily, language consultants have put at the finger tips of many politicians what would objectively be considered aggravating discussion of political subjects. Type a key word into your search engine regarding bills before the United States Congress and viola, you see some comments from our politicians that make you wonder, how on earth, this kind of person got to be elected from his or her constituency to congress. I am not making it up, this is real. Try this one on, or The downside of using words and languages smitten by consultants that rarely appreciate where you are coming from as a person or politician, is that you end up with comments that to say the least, are embarrassing, even to the most shameless of politicians. Having different or several language consultants working for you as a politician, puts you in the middle of a milieu of comments that are considered sour, even by your spouse. Frankly, current languages accredited to some political leaders on very serious items of national discuss, have the potential of fractionizing our democracy. It is time, that as member of public with some decency, we begin to call lawmakers out on their use of language or words, not only for the sake of harmony in that august body called the United States Congress, but because of the implication of such languages or words to the safety of other lawmakers.

Imagine words as “pull the trigger”, “you’re a liar” “take back our country”, “Nazi”, “Obamacare” and “Commander-in-Thief”, among others. Are these responsible languages from any decent American? These are the types of comments that have come from politicians, Tea Party members and others, protesting public policies on issues of national security, health care, financial reform, taxation and immigration. If you go back thirty years, could you have heard our politicians using such derogative and inciting languages? Many of these languages capture the imagination of our children to the extent that our daughter inquired from us at the dinner table the other night, why are people so demeaning to Obama? We had to offer close to genuine rebuttals that many of those carrying the placards on national news with demeaning or derogative signs, are not necessarily mean to the President, they are just finding a way to express their frustration, which no one with a level of decency, can put a hand on, right away. To some of us, the right to first amendment is now being stretched to the limit and there is a need for us to say: halt, we are all red blooded Americans, would you like this if it was said about your uncle, brother, or father?

To cope with the reality of having to explain to our daughter when adults are not behaving as adults, we have had to draw from grandma’s book of acceptable decorum: “If what you are going to say is not going to add any pleasantries to a discussion, then say nothing! Politicians like citizens need to be watchful of what they say about themselves or about public policies under discussion, either in congress or in our little worlds, called our homes. What you would not ordinarily say to a neighbor, don’t say it at work. For lawmakers, the Congress is their place of work and the presence of the press, as easily misconstrued as a means to get your message out, can be easily abused by politicians and the public, alike. The Press occasionally attempts to capture sensation and the use of words lacking valor are often broadcasted once made by a politician, especially when the politician is considered one of the leaders in his or her party.

Politicians and political action groups who use consultants for speeches and communications, either in congress or public, may want to make sure that the type of language or the form of words advanced by this consultant on an issue of discuss, is one that they effectively subscribe to, because once used, it becomes your language, no one else’s. The language may be used to capture your understanding or reservation on a subject, however, the connotation of the language at that very moment of utterance comes to be yours; both in embodiments and distaste by the average person who appreciates cordiality and decency in the use of language. The tools to capture the essence of your position on a subject do not have to be vulgar to make the necessary impact.

Whether it is public speech or deposition before congress, politicians must reflect rather than continue spinning the wheels on the same position that does not advance any worthiness to the subject at hand. Yes, I want my emotions known on this subject or I want to carry the huge burden of my political affiliation, may be something that is important to you as a politician, but it does not have to be done disparagingly or in explicit vulgarity. There are several tacit tricks used by language consultants just for the razzle-dazzle effect, but not for substance. Don’t be caught in that web of emotions or indecency. Always remember you are a public person in a public arena, always; whether on the floor of congress or in your dentist’s clinic!

Let your language on political and public issues capture the substance of your argument with a decency that your stakeholders (constituency) would be proud of. Crying out with an iota of derogation exposes you to a lot of unkindness that you are attempting to dish out and it portrays you in a very bad light. Learn not to be overtly carried away by the heat of the moment. Your expectation on a subject from other lawmakers or citizens may not just be what you like or feel comfortable with, however; you do not have to submit yourself to baseless crudity! A word is sufficient for the wise.
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