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"Advice To Politicians"
Most politicians bury their points in so much flowery garbage
that the points themselves are lost.
They should try this the next time they hear snoring from the audience:
Scratch out most of the adjectives and adverbs.
Erase the high sounding historical references,
and weasel phrases that take the punch out of a speech.
Delete any words and phrases that donít directly drive the point home.
I wish our guys would edit their thoughts down to the nitty-gritty
the way Abe Lincoln did.
Some of us take the time to wade through it all,
but we won't convert anybody if they have to search for each point.
They won't bother.
Here's an actual excerpt from an Al Gore speech to Move-On.Org members,
as originally presented:
"I mentioned the feeling many have that something basic has gone wrong.
Whatever it is, I think it has a lot to do with the way we seek the truth
and try in good faith to use facts as the basis for debates about our
future -- allowing for the unavoidable tendency we all have to get swept up
in our enthusiasms. That last point is worth highlighting. Robust debate
in a democracy will almost always involve occasional rhetorical excesses and
leaps of faith, and we're all used to that. I've even been guilty of it myself
on occasion. But there is a big difference between that and a systematic effort
to manipulate facts in service to a totalistic ideology that is felt to be more
important than the mandates of basic honesty."
I like you, but is that some kind of a code?
I've translated it into English for us regular folks (See below):
"Something's gone wrong with the way we seek the truth and use facts for debates
about our future. In a democracy we use excess rhetoric and leaps of faith, and
we're all used to that. I've even been guilty of it myself on occasion. But
there's a big difference between that and manipulating facts for ideology
Letís hear some plain talk.
You orators are committing rhetorical suicide.
Also, I wish politicians would stop trying to be funny.
John Kerry tried it the other day and got everybody mad.
Anger is not a good response to humor.
Kerry has humor confused with irony,
and he's not very good at either one.
He was trying to get this old and valid point across:
Rich men start wars, but they aren't the ones who fight and die.
Some say it was an insult to our troops.
If so, I'm pretty sure it wasn't intentional... just kinda dumb.
At election time you have to be careful.
Copyright © November 2, 2006 Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission.