Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The well spoken

So after skimming a news article about Jim Leach's very eloquent endorsement of Obama, I violed one of my major personal rules. But, in the manner of a TV news teaser ad, I will now hold you in suspense and comment on Leach's comments. Meta-commenting, the lifeblood of the blogger, let me tell you!

Barack Obama's platform is a call for change," said Leach. "But the change that he so gracefully is articulating is more renewal than departure.


I like it, as a statement. And I think that it gets to a lot of the reasons that I support Obama but in just a few words. Which is why I am a teacher with a tendency to let classes run overtime and Leach is a successful politician in a soundbyte-ridden-world.

Now on to my mistake. I read on through the article, on the ABC News website, to the reader comments section. Oh God, why did I do that. My faith in America lies shattered.

Well, not really, but it was irritating enough to mandate a sort of mini-blog. The nutshell is this: why do people insist on using words like "Repug" and "McNasty" or "Obummer" or "Democrap." Guess what -- trying to sneak in some nasty words like that isn't actually going to improve your argument. It really isn't going to change someone's mind in a logical argument.

Gee...I WAS going to vote for McCain, but seeing that well spoken use of "repug" as a contraction of "republican" has so stirringly forced me to rethink my fundamental political values that I am forced to alter my viewpoint.

What have we sunk to? Is this a Junior High student body election? Am I going to see "Obama-4-Prez" signs in tempra paint soon? This isn't a partisan thing -- I've seen it on both sides of the fence. It is just a matter of acting intelligent. I don't expect everything to take place in a dispassionate debate by people wearing black robes or mortar boards or wigs or anything, but communicating clearly is a good start in any situation.

And while I'm at it, can we stop saying "plus" and "minus" as verbs? They are symbols. The operations are "addition" and "subtraction." I can verb nouns with the best of them, but that's just too much. I'm not even getting into my favorite corporate-isms, that's about twenty pages of blogging right there!

And who ever said "France" is OK. Its "Gaul," people. Has been for thousands of years, why do we need to change it?

Now that might be a bit beyond reality (though I am listening to The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire right now, on the days that I can muster the focus), but take a look at people who speak well. Say Leach's quote above, Obama's speaking, or the great speeches of Churchill or MLK or any of the 20th century's greats. Powerful, motivating, moving, eloquent speech. Clear speech that uses the power of the language. And never says "Obummer" or "McPain"...

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