There are some things politicians just shouldn’t say.
Either they make you sound socially illiterate or they prove you are.
But like George Carlin said back in the ‘70s when he was discussing the seven dirty words you can’t say, “They don’t give you a list. That’s the problem. Don’t you think it would be normal if they didn’t want you to say something, they would tell you what it is? You have to say them to find out which ones they are.”
I think in the wake of former Democratic Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer comments about both Eric Cantor and Dianne Feinstein I will make at least a partial list of things politicians should never say.
In a National Journal interview, Schweitzer, who considered himself a contender for the White House in 2016, said of Cantor, a Virginian, “men in the South, they are a little effeminate,” and “my gaydar is 60 to 70 percent. But he’s not, I think, so I don’t know. Again, I couldn’t care less. I’m accepting.”
“Gaydar” is definitely on the list. Let’s just say that if gaydar is your only superpower, Marvel isn’t making a comic book about you.
He also went on to say that Sen. Feinstein “was the woman who was standing under the streetlight with her dress pulled all the way up over her knees, and now she says, ‘I’m a nun,’ when it comes to this spying” on American citizens.
Calling any woman, much less a ranking senator, a prostitute who doesn’t have sex in exchange for money is also on the list. You could tell Schweitzer knew that before the filthy words even left his mouth. “I mean,” he said in the same breath, “that’s the wrong metaphor, but she was all in!”
Schweitzer gets points for knowing which figure of speech he used. At least he didn’t confuse metaphors and similes while spewing offensive comments.
It isn’t like the former Governor – and presumably former Presidential hopeful – was caught on a hot mic or was a couple of drinks into a dinner party when he started bloviating.
He was in a formal interview for a profile with the National Journal. I would love to have been sitting by his press handlers when he made those comments. Did they gasp? Did they cringe? How long after the interview did they wait to try to find another candidate on which to pin their hopes?
So we have gaydar and prostitution as topics that are off limits if you hold an office or hope to one day.
Other items on the list include Hitler, slavery, rape, Nazi, fascism and socialism.
Unless a person has killed a significant number of people from a specifically targeted race or ethnic group or have a funny little mustache, they are not “like Hitler.” Politicians need to drop names that are more accurate and at least on the same scale as the person they are trying to denigrate.
Page 2 of 2 - Unless you are owned by another person and abused as a matter of routine while being forced to work with no compensation, your situation is not like slavery. Working hard for minimum wage is bad, but it isn’t slavery. On a related note, slaves weren’t lucky because some nice white gentlemen gave them somewhere to live and enough food to keep them alive. That is on the list as a subpoint.
This is already getting too complicated for some candidates. No wonder a lot of them have trouble.
I think we will lump Nazis, fascists and socialists into one entry to keep things simple. Here’s the thing, 94.6% of you don’t know anything about any of those groups or political systems except that they are bad. That is the same percentage of you who think I did a survey to know what percentage of people don’t know that.
The final word almost every politician needs to avoid is rape. If someone stole your idea, you weren’t raped. If they knocked down your yard signs, you don’t feel raped.
Don’t say rape. Just don’t say it at all.
Politics has more “dirty” words but they should be easy for any reasonable adult to discover, remember, and avoid.
But like Carlin’s seven dirty words, I wanted to give at least a partial list to get you started since the 2014 campaign season is starting to heat up.
Kent Bush is the publisher of the Butler County (Kansas) Times Gazette and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.