Poli-ticking Me Off

Welp, I’ve figured out what’s wrong with the American political system. You can call off any expensive, in-depth studies being done on the subject. I’ve cracked the case and really, it’s very simple.

Politicians just don’t know how words work.

This whole time I’ve been thinking politicians are just insensitive jerks when maybe the real problem is they just have a poor grasp of the English language. Putting words together is hard. It’s even harder when you have to put words in order to communicate an idea–this is where our politicians are running into a bit of trouble. Evidently, they have all decided to just start throwing words together at random without any thought toward what the words actually mean.

Comparisons are proving to be especially difficult for them. Here’s the definition of a comparison from Merriam-Webster so you know it’s legit: “The act of looking at things to see how they are similar or different.” Since you’re not a politician and also not four years old, you probably already knew that.

Politicians do comparisons a bit differently than the rest of us though. They do them Mad Libs style. They just take anything their political opponents do, say, think, are, or stand for and they compare that to anything (really anything) that is roundly considered to be terrible.They don’t take the time to consider if the comparison is valid or even logical. They just throw out some words and hope they stick.

I’m hoping for their sake (and for the sake of all of us who have to listen to their gibberish) that politicians are not knowingly making the comparisons they’ve been making lately. I hope that they honestly don’t know what they’re saying.  Because if they don’t know what they are saying, I could just think they’re idiotic and woefully inarticulate.

However, if they do understand how words work and they’re still saying these things, I think we all (yes, all of us) can agree that they’re jerks.

Then I think all of us (yes, seriously all of us) should agree that there are some comparisons that just don’t work and should stop being made. Here are some examples of dumb comparisons:

  1. Comparing anything other than slavery to slavery.
  2. Comparing anything other than a natural disaster that killed thousands of people to a natural disaster that killed thousands of people.
  3. Comparing any person who is not Hitler to Hitler.

I’m all for saying what’s on your mind (I mean, really, I never shut up). I just think all of us (and politicians in particular) could do a better job with it. I understand that being “politically correct” is now supposedly a bad thing. I get that. So I figure we should just change the name of it. Let’s stop calling it being “politically correct.” Let’s start calling it, “Stop being an asshole.” I think that’s a policy all of us can rally behind.

Because comparing slavery to anything that isn’t slavery, comparing a natural disaster to anything that isn’t a natural disaster, and comparing anyone who isn’t Hitler to Hitler is just wrong. And more importantly, it’s cruel to anyone who actually experienced slavery, lost loved ones in Hurricane Katrina, or survived the Holocaust.

So, please, seriously, stop. We have other words. You can make other comparisons. Try harder to do communicate your ideas and opinions effectively.

And if all of these suggestions I’m making are just too darn complicated to remember, I’ve got a similar but simpler piece of advice from the great communicator, Dwight Schrute: “Whenever I’m about to do something, I think ‘Would an idiot do that?’ And if they would, I do not do that thing.”