American Elephants


Words, Dictionaries, Democrats and Demagogues by The Elephant's Child

Theoretically, we share a common vocabulary, and with a dictionary handy to look up the big words, we shouldn’t have too much trouble understanding each other. That’s a sentence that can be shot down in nothing flat. Conservatives and Liberals often do not speak the same language. Conservatives refer to their principles and try to say what they mean fairly effectively. Liberals don’t have principles, (they have told us so) and respond to events on a circumstantial basis. However, Liberals are far more careful with their choice of words — they have talking points.

I don’t know just how this works, I assume they have a word shop over at the Center for American Progress where cubicles of scribes pick ‘the word’ in response to the current event.

For example, a Colorado recall election just booted two Legislators out of office: John Morse, who was president of the senate, and Angela Giron, from a heavily Democratic district, both of whom were behind a gun control measure. They were heavily financed by Bloomberg’s Governors for Gun Control bunch. When they were recalled by a substantial vote, Democrats were shocked.

DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman-Shultz quickly announced that it was “voter suppression.” Defeated senator Angela Giron went on CNN to whine extensively, all but bursting into tears, claiming over and over that it was “voter suppression.” This is not a coincidence. Democrats come up with good, powerful, words, which are issued as talking points.

This is why Democrats stopped being “liberals” and became “progressives” instead. The word “liberal” had become tainted with sleazy politics, and “progressive” was associated with “progress” as in the century-old administration of Woodrow Wilson.

This is why so many Democrat ideas are expressed in very effective bumper-stickers, and why Republicans have trouble explaining economic realities. The question is “minimum wage,” Democrats respond “living wage” while Republicans patiently explain that the minimum wage is meant for beginning workers, who usually get promoted in 6 months, and raising the minimum means more teens and beginners out of work. It’s really hard to compete with that.

A particularly interesting word is demagoguery. Demagoguery is an appeal to people that plays on their emotions and prejudices rather than on their rational side.

Demagoguery is a manipulative approach — often associated with dictators and sleazy politicians — that appeals to the worst nature of people. Demagoguery isn’t based on reason, issues, and doing the right thing, it’s based on stirring up fear and hatred to control people. For example, a politician who stirs up a fear of immigrants to distract from other issues is using demagoguery. Demagoguery is one of the most negative aspects of politics, but it’s also one that’s all too common.

Every politician has a bit of the demagogue in them, it’s just a matter of degree. Adherents of each party are apt to refer to their opposite number as a demagogue, so the word is used freely and carelessly. Yet there is a clear definition, and there are clear examples of skillful demagoguery:

This is the most outstanding example of a pure appeal to the emotions and prejudices I have ever seen. It is not based on reason or the issues, or doing the right thing. It’s all feelings. If you look for meaning — there is no meaning there. “Change we can believe in” What is it you are changing? “We are the change we seek” What does that mean? “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” Huh? “Yes we can.” Can what? This is ‘call and response’ borrowed from black preachers. “We are the hope of the future.” “That we cannot remake this world as it should be.”

Barack Obama said — nothing, nothing at all. There is not one specific in the entire speech, at best only a vague “our house cannot stand divided.” He said “A hymn that will heal the world,”and he has his audience in the palm of his hand, wildly cheering “Yes we Can” without the slightest idea of what it is that they Can. This is a masterful demonstration of how to arouse and manipulate an audience. It will go down in history as the perfect definition of demagoguery.

We, ladies and gentlemen, were had.

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[…] need to borrow a page from the Democrats, Liberals, Progressives, who casually change the names of things when the previous name becomes unworkable. The whole concept of a minimum wage needs both a new […]

Pingback by Nouns Are Just the Names of Things, and Can Be Changed To Suit The Moment. | American Elephants




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