Elementary Politics III: Political Language

Politicians deal with language all the time. They speak with caution because they must take care not to say anything.

Proof of this, according to their own words, is that they do not actually say things but they indicate them.

“As I indicated yesterday…”, “As the president indicated to me…”.


Sometimes they don’t indicate. They suggest.

“Let me suggest that as I indicated yesterday…”


Politicians do not decide. They determine. If it’s a really serious matter, they make a judgment. They don’t tell. They advise.

“I haven’t made a judgment on that yet. When the hearing has been concluded I will make a judgment or I might make an assessment, I’m not sure because I haven’t determined that yet. But when I do I will advice you!”


They don’t answer. They respond.

“I advised him that I have made a judgment. Thus far, he hasn’t responded.”


An initiative is an idea that is not going anywhere.

“He hasn’t responded to my initiative!”


They don’t read. They review. They won’t have opinions because they take positions and sometimes they don’t give advises because they give/make/offer recommendations.

“When he responds to my initiative I will review his response, take a position and make a recommendation!”


So at long last after each has responded to the other’s initiatives and each has reviewed the other’s responses and everyone has taken a position, made a judgment and offered a recommendation, now they have to do something. But that would be much too direct. So instead, they address the problem. Plus, they’re always proceeding or moving forward. A lot of that goes on.

“We’re addressing the problem and we’ll soon be proceeding…”, “Well we’re moving forward on that…”.


When they’re not moving forward, they’re moving something else forward such as the process. No one has problems anymore, they have challenges. That’s why we need people who can make the tough decisions.  Tough decisions like

“How much soft money can I expect to collect in exchange for my core values so that I can continue my work in the government?”.

Of course no politician would admit to such lowly position such as working in the government. Instead they admit that they are serving the nation. Another distortion is public service.

“We have to move the process forward so we can implement the provisions of the initiative in order to meet these challenges.”, “I like the Philippines. The food is great but the public service is terrible!”.


Normally during peace time the politicians will refer to the people in the military as our young men and women stationed around the world. In war-time they quickly become our brave young fighting men and women stationed halfway around the world in places whose name they can’t pronounce wondering if they’ll ever see their loved ones again. For added emotional impact, sons and daughters will always be substituted for men and women.

I think we can sum this up by saying that when the military is concerned, the extent of a politician’s insincerity can be measured by how far around the world our soldiers are stationed and whether or not any of them can pronounce it.

Incidentally, another way of expressing this sentiment is to say that we’re sending our young men and women to places that the average Filipino can’t find on a map. I’ve always thought that it was kind of funny and somewhat out of character for a politician to go out his way and point out the low-level of Filipino intelligence when, indeed, his very job depends upon it.

It would seem to fly on the face of that rhetorical stand-by of theirs that the Filipino people are way more intelligent than they’re given credit for. This is said with a straight face although it is obvious, of course, that the proposition is being stated precisely backwards.


But the politicians, God bless them or something like that (LOL), they are at their most entertaining when they are in trouble. When they’re in trouble their explanations usually begin simply with words like miscommunication

“Well it was a miscommunication.” or as quoted  out of context, and better yet, “They twisted my words!“.

Such a nice touch. A person who routinely spends his days torturing the language complains that his words were twisted by someone.


As they controversy continues, he moves up to his next level of complaint, which is

“The whole thing has been blown out of proportions!”.

It’s always the whole thing! Apparently, no one has ever claimed that it was only a small portion of something that was blown out of proportions. It has to be always the whole thing. That’s because, now, the politician is feeling the heat.


As time passes and more evidence comes in he suddenly changes directions and tells us that

“We’re trying to get to the bottom of this…“.

Now he’s on the side of law and order.

“We’re trying to get to get to the bottom of this so we can get the facts out to the Filipino people!”

That’s always a nice touch. The Filipino people/The Filipinos. In fact at this point he might even say

“I’m willing to trust in the fairness of the Filipinos!”

Clearly he’s trying to tell us something.


So when, finally, all the facts came out and our subject seems quite guilty, he employs that sublime use of the passive voice mistakes were made.

“Mistakes were made! Don’t look at me! It’s probably someone from my office!”

Things are moving faster now and mistakes were made were replaced by there is no evidence, no one has proven anything, eventually I will be exonerated, I have faith in the Filipino judicial system,  and at certain sign that things are closing in, whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

Well he’s about to find out.


We know this must be true because the next we hear from him is

“I just want to put this thing behind me and get on with my life!”

We hear the phrase “I just want to put this thing behind me” a lot these days in all walks of life. Usually the person in question has committed some unspeakable act.


That’s the problem in this country. Too many people are getting on with their lives. I think what we really need more is ritual suicide. Never mind the press conference, pull out the drawer in the kitchen and get the big knife. Kidding.

Personally, what I want to do is to put this “I want to put this thing behind me and get on with my life” thing behind me and get on with my life.

Just to conclude this, let’s just hope that there is a torture chamber for people who recently decided to take responsibility for their actions. That’s the big thing now. Taking responsibility for your actions like it’s a recent discovery.

He’s taking responsibility for his actions. Well isn’t that wonderful?! Ask him if he’s willing to take responsibility for my actions! Along with my bills, car payments and my gambling debts (I have no gambling debts in real life).

“Someone has said that it requires less mental effort to condemn than to think” -Emma Goldman


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s