Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Language of Lies, the Language of Truth

People who consider themselves intelligent, savvy, or at least somewhat in the game, like to believe that they can recognize the difference between a lie or a truth. In fact, political speech can be defined as the attempt to distort meaning in such a way as to make the listener assume something not in evidence. That may be the harsher of the two meanings, the second one being words that are used to gain a policy advantage in a debate leading to political decisions.

John Boehner might use his version of the truth in a way that helps him in a policy debate; Barack Obama might use his version of the truth in a way that helps him prevail in the same debate.

However, there are statements, often repeated, that are, to most sensible observers, best defined as being of the language of lies, while other statements feel, after serious reflection, to merit being called the truth.

Let's examine a few to see if we can find a pattern:

Okay, well said. We don't want to burden our job creators with taxes and stuff. And yet, during this same time frame in which John Boehner is decrying how we mustn't hurt the job creators -- those wealthy enough to invest in new jobs -- what has been happening to these wealthy, job creators?

Does this chart shed any light?

By god, it just might! As far as I can tell from this chart, when we were growing our economy out of the Great Depression, the bottom 90% of Americans grabbed 8.8% of the new wealth, and the richest 1% slipped 3.4%. Ah.

But wait. coming out of the Great Recession of our day, the bottom 90% slipped .4%, and the top 1% garnered 21.5% of the new wealth in the same period. (Actually, that means that the top 15,700 families in America, out of 114 million total households, gathered 37% of the new money.)

Here's the question: When you go back and listen to John Boehner's statement, which language is he using, the language of lies or the language of truth? Oh, and who is creating all those jobs, eh? You know, when he's saying, "Where are the jobs?" Ah, you know, the one's he's saying the job creators are, ah, creating.

Here's another example:

I don't know about you, but when I listen to John Boehner, and when I listen to Barack Obama, and I look at that chart of who is doing well in America and who isn't, it's really apparent who is looking in his heart for true words and who is looking for lies.

Here's another one:

Mitt is so at ease, isn't he? Or is it the case that he's dripping with weasel words? A fair listen says he's not the friend of truth in that interview. On friendly Fox News!

Now, let's see if we can find an example of the language of truth:

I listen to that six ways to sundown and I wonder: Who would hear anything but the resounding ring of truth, the language of truth, the heart of truth in Elizabeth Warren's words? If you actually know someone who watches that statement by Elizabeth Warren and doesn't hear what is actually good about America, then report them to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission or to the Daughters of the American Revolution. Okay, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was like South Africa or something, but the point stands: Elizabeth Warren told us the truth, one we must take to heart.

So, here's another one to pass muster:

Let's make this an animal question: Is Newt here a weasel or an owl? That's too kind a question. Gingrich just weaseled his way out, amid high dungeon and hrrrumphh, of a pointed reference to his quirky, at best, and unfaithful, almost cruel, at worst, sexual proclivities before, during, and after this statement:

Now, I'm a fan of Bill Clinton and decidedly not a fan of Newt Gingrich, but whaddya think? Weaselly on the part of both about their sexual proclivities? As Sarah Palin might say, "You betcha." Now, Clinton said that fifteen years ago. Newt offered his spiel about a month or so ago. Who is the weasel, now, Newt, who tried to impeach Clinton while Newt was serially philandering, or Bill Clinton, who has gone on to be one of the most popular ex-presidents of all time? The French have a word (or two?) for that: J'accuse!! Monsieur Gingrich! J'accuse!! (Which for those who don't know French means, ah, sorta, STFU.)

Now, let's try to go out on something that rings true:

Wow! That's so nice (and true), let's try it again!

Now, I don't know whether George Carlin was using the language of truth or -- wait a minute! -- of course he was, because we know it when we see it, right?

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