Blue Jeans, Blue Language and Gas Bags
There are several good sides to the meanness being seen and heard these days on the local, state and national political stages. I’m truly astonished by the conduct of those running for the highest office in the land, about their discourtesy to each other and to what seems to me as disrespect for the presidency which they seek.
The joint news conference with the president and the British prime minister this week also caught my attention.
The big winners of the national nomination campaign are reporters, writers and commentators in print, broadcast and online. I’m grateful for that. I’m glad the media in the various states have been getting financially healthy, too, with all of the commercials and advertisements, especially the local daily and weekly newspapers. The candidates and their advisors have shown their worst characters. It’s fun to laugh and joke about what they say because we know it’s really obfuscation at its best.
It seems no better in Annapolis or Frederick County where the smokescreens are going strong. The political smoke-filled rooms of yesteryear seem tame today considering the ugly verbosity we’re hearing constantly. In the days of smoking cigars and cigarettes and post prohibition drinks, political deals were made. Yes, there was infighting at its best, but these battles were kept somewhat under wraps.
I don’t think it’s a good thing for what appears to be a laidback style. The president calls the UK prime minister David and the PM calls the U.S. chief executive Barack.
Frankly, I don’t like the familiarity. It demeans both offices. I don’t like to see all the candidates walking around in open collar shirts and blue jeans, or dungarees as one of my old acquaintances says. That doesn’t make them regular people. They’re simply dummying down their appearances even if voters/citizens dress like they’re destitute. These politicians are spending millions upon millions and in no way are they average Americans or regular people.
The flap in the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners made the front pages where one veteran member calls the board president a “liar.” In my book, no matter the public issue, elected officials should use some courtesy and common sense in disagreements. Verbally fight in the backroom, but for the good of the people, don’t become a horse’s posterior or simply a snot. The liar bit is disgraceful.
None of the candidates I’ve seen or read about seem to know anything about diplomacy. An old friend, a wise old newspaper editor, called me this week. After a few chuckles, he reminded me that diplomacy is the ability to let someone else have your way. Of course, I laughed. I like the way Will Rogers said it: “diplomacy is the art of saying ‘Nice doggie’ until you can find a rock.” Sounds like the latter is what’s going on today.
Free speech is a precious right and gives us all the ability to say or write whatever we think. Others might not like it, but we can do it. There can be serious consequences, too. We should exercise discretion.
Now, how about the broadcast talkers? They have boomed within the past several decades. Many of the shows, no matter the political persuasion, are awful, chatter at its worst. They don’t even try to be articulate. I’m not just talking about the gas bags on the national airways, but the growing numbers of community radio stations filled with hate, foul language and plenty of misinformation.
The language on a Washington sports station was so blue one afternoon I called and complained about the locker room talk, supposedly so uptown. The receptionist was polite and said no other complaints had been made.
Happy days are here again.