Friday 14 December 2012

Don’t you wish more politicians spoke like this?

If you want evidence that politics has been hollowed out, consider the language many politicians use.

It has an other-worldly quality. It sounds scripted and insincere, not real or human. It is dishonest, but in a more subtle way than downright lies, relying instead on various forms of evasion: chicanery, obfuscation, weasel words, circumlocution, euphemism, platitudes, jargon and clichés.

It is the over-engineered and debased language of spin doctors and ‘messaging’. It is a language drained of meaning; surface not substance, marketing not politics.

(This problem is not new; George Orwell was complaining about politicians’ abuse of language in 1946).

And the irony is that, the more politicians try to gratify public opinion by contriving this sort of language, the less it works. Politicians are responding to what polls and focus groups tell them people want to hear. But the resulting language actually lowers popular trust in politicians because it sounds phoney.

So it is refreshing to hear a politician speak from the heart in real language. Steve Yolland reports:
In Michigan, the Republican-controlled legislature succeeded in passing a new ‘right-to-work’ law, which weakens unions’ ability to negotiate and has serious negative implications for all workers in the state. They had no public meetings, no debate, no time for review, and most offensively had Republican staffers sit in seats in the gallery to block interested citizens from even being in the room to hear about it.
Representative Brandon Dillon (Democrat) decided to speak out against this abuse of power. And this is what he said:

Don’t you wish more politicians spoke like that?

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