IMPACT Press: Article: Feb.-March '00


Feb.-March '00

Vows for Equality:
Same-Sex Marriage

Big Brother &
the Nightly News

Overpriced Musings:
Worth Your Vote

Free Speech

in Chile

(music reviews)

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over-priced musings

brought to you by
Don Pflaster

You Can't Vote for Him.
He's Actually Worthy!

Politics is a quirky little business, and there can be no doubt about it being one of the most difficult occupations ever to exist. But what's so hard about it, really? I never thought it was difficult to have an idea, or to feel noble enough to represent your constituency and have their concerns voiced to the highest reaches of the republic through you. All that's really required is a few public speaking skills and giddy sense of self-importance.

As easy as it seems to be, I could never be a politician. And I'm sure many of you who make less than $100,000 a year, the true pulse of the nation, couldn't do it either. If politics were truly about ideas and government of, by and for the people, you'd be hearing a lot more people on C-SPAN that talk a little more like you... with honesty and substance to their modes of speech. You'd also see a lot more attention in the media to lower-class citizens who can't afford airtime, but have really interesting and workable ideas (or at least offering conveyances of what life is like as a peon.) I would think around election time the stations could go just a little bit out of their way to hear a few of these departures from the norm.

A few outspoken freaks may once in a while make it into politics and into the headlines, but, for the most part, political-speak is much like business-speak: evasive, dry, and predictable.

The reason I think many of us don't want anything to do with politics (besides low-self esteem and lack of faith in the human race) is because we don't want to be evasive, dry, and predictable. President of the United States should be a job for an enlightened philosophical supergenius who can do away with war and cruelty by making compelling broadcast speeches about the futility and pain of hostility and mistrust. Instead we have a leadership performing incremental tasks which scarcely make a dent in the attitude of the world as a whole. Because of the great many who want to be powerful, it seems that few can rise to that level without first selling their soul, subduing their passions, and taking on a new form. This effectively switches the goal of politics from ''love of the world and your neighbor'' to ''destroy all who oppose you.'' Because if you're not going to try to destroy them, they'll destroy you first.

Bitterness and resentment between people because of their political alignment is boring, and should definitely not have any place in the highest 500 or so seats in the American Government. It has somehow become commonplace, and we ended up with only two parties to choose from (two worthwhile parties, anyway.) This division has polarized Americans and made them believe that stupid old saying, ''There are two kinds of people in the world, etc.'' And so in the void of the few real differences between the parties, language comes into play to make the tenets (and people) of your own party seem more agreeable than the other. To that end, Newt Gingrich's GOPAC Republican training committee released in a memo titled ''Language: A Key Mechanism of Control'' the following list of ''Optimistic Positive Governing Words'' to be used in tandem with describing your political platform or administration. Thanks are in order to Al Franken's book, Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, for compiling them.

Share, change, opportunity, challenge, truth, moral, courage, reform, prosperity, children, family, active(ly), we/us/our, candid(ly), humane, pristine, liberty, principle(d), precious, care(ing), listen, help, lead, vision, empower(ment), citizen, activist, dream, freedom, peace, rights, proud/pride, preserve, pro-issue (flag, children, environment), workfare, eliminate good time in prison, strength, fair, protect, incentive, hard work, common sense

The memo also suggests ''contrasting'' words to use while describing your opponent:

Decay, failure(fail), collapse(ing), deeper, crisis, destructive, destroy, sick, pathetic, lie, liberal, they/them, ''compassion'' is not enough, traitors, hypocrisy, radical, devour, waste, corruption, incompetent, permissive attitude, impose, self-serving, greed, ideological, anti-issue (flag, family, child, jobs), pessimistic, welfare, corrupt, insensitive, status quo, taxes, spend(ing), shame, disgrace, punish, bizarre, cynicism, cheat, steal, machine, bosses, criminal rights, red tape

Zzzz... *snort* oh my! I'm awake. How's that for language that's emptier than O.J.'s wallet? My sparkling new way of selecting candidates is to keep this list of egregious, pompous swill handy when I listen to debates and speeches and vote for the candidate that uses these trite, now-meaningless words the least. And of course, politics has always been about voting for the candidate you dislike the least.

I just heard President Clinton's Weekly radio address which stated that unemployment rates are the lowest they've been in 25 years. But he doesn't mention anything about why people are still assholes and why violence still exists in the world despite its uselessness. Shouldn't that be the first priority? I mean, that's what I'm really interested in, and have always been interested in, since my conception.

Where's the craziness? Why don't we try a grand experiment and wash clean our current batch of lawmakers? I'm certainly not the first to suggest it. Vote for someone unconventional... as long as they're over 35. Put in a write-in vote for David Letterman, Yo Yo Ma, or your dad (if he's a nice, smart guy.) But seriously, why must America always be so 50/50, us-or-them, Coke-or-Pepsi? There are multiple parties active and so many dreams of a new world contained within. Try to find speech within alternate parties that truly inspires and provides a vehicle for thought.

Don't reward the childish muckrakers this year. They don't deserve it, quite frankly. They're an abomination to class, dignity, and high society and we could do so much better without them. Elect a few bright-eyed geniuses instead of dark-motive lawyers. Even though companies have been using the same argument of late to peddle their wares, I'm going to use it again: ''What better time than 2000?''

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