If I speak “POLITICALese”, am I bilingual?


There are few things more noticeable to me than when you hear a politician who sounds like he’s at a backyard barbecue. It is noticeable because it so rarely happens. Politicians speak something I call Politicalese. Yes, I made that word up. But how else does one define the differences in the language and how it is presented? In my personal revised edition of My Fair Lady…. it would be something like, Why can’t Politician be more like a Person. 😉

In news of average Joe behavior being frowned upon in politics, one can look to Tajikistan. They blocked yet another YouTube video. The third this year, but who’s counting? This one involved their President as he allegedly sang and slurred his way through a song at his son’s 2007 wedding. Now, personally, I would find myself feeling a bit closer to a person whom I thought acts just like any drunken relative we all have. But, NO. Then again, their country is a little different from ours.

So, what about our country? There is currently a campaign in Massachusetts for the Senate seat left open when John Kerry became Secretary of State. A man by the name of Gabriel Gomez—a former Navy Seal—is running against Democratic challenger Ed Markey. Ed Markey, in case you don’t know, has been in some form of office since 1973 when he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Needless to say, at 40 years, one might call him a career politician.

One the flip side of this election is Republican candidate, Mr. Gomez. He is a 47 year old former Navy Seal with an MBA from Harvard Business School. (This is not so much about HIM for office as it is about the man—as he grew up the son of Colombian immigrants, speaking Spanish before learning English and went on to be a successful private equity investor.)

On paper he is living the American dream and has—evidently—yet to learn Politicalese. So henceforth, I will call Mr. Gomez, the “Everyman”.

Everyman got into a little—let’s just call it a rookie mistake—trouble with something he said. Evidently, calling your challenger “pond scum” is frowned upon. The barbs back and forth came from an ad campaign. Evidently, Markey had a video in a commercial ad that highlighted the fact that Gomez was a spokesman for a conservative super PAC that criticized Obama’s handling of information about the death of Osama bin Laden. And, Everyman responded to a reporter, “You know I’ve got four young kids, and they’ve got to sit there and they’ve got to see an ad with their dad, who’s a SEAL, who served honorably,” he went on, “And for him to be as dirty and low, pond scum, to put me up there next to bin Laden, he’s just got to be called what he is.”

OK! Pond Scum. Hey, that’s bad? I think it’s a breath of fresh air… well figuratively, of course. But he speaks in a way—with words I understand—and naysayers are making this a big deal? Please. I want to understand the person who supposedly represents me. I do not want to feel as if every sentence is so calculated and needs some sort of approval from the Politicalese Police that by the time it comes out of someone’s mouth I am scratching my head. We should all try to remember all of those political appointee’s caught on any given open mic night, saying things FAR WORSE.

I want my government to represent ME.

Ok… I was dreaming for a moment. But good luck to all the Everyman’s out there who dare to try to change the world for us and speak a language that, at the very least, I understand and appreciate. 🙂


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