July 21, 2012

376 words 2 mins read

Distrust Adjectives, and the Politicians Who Use Them

Missouri’s primary is August 7. Missouri’s Republicans now litter the airwaves and in-boxes with smears against their Republican opponents. What strikes me is the weakness of so many of their pitches.

Every political ad is a pitch. It’s a chance to sell an idea and to volunteer as that idea’s champion in some high office. What a noble calling.

Few politicians take that noble path, sadly. Instead, they bully and vilify their opponents–especially their primary opponents.  Anyone paying casual attention to Missouri’s Republican race for Lieutenant Governor could reach only one conclusion: the two worst human beings on the planet are the two leading GOP candidates.

The campaigns sling mud like it’s an Olympic event, but their proxies are even worse.  The Missouri GOP and its network of consultants have stitched together a patchwork of bloggers and broadcasters who seem to have a simple mission: if our guy loses, may the Democrat win.

Opposing this establishment juggernaut is an alliance of amateur activists who imitate the pros, sometimes achieving new levels of vitriol.  Most of these people on all sides of the crossfire are friends of mine.  If not friends, they’re fellow believers in smaller government constrained by a written Constitution whose intents were settled upon ratification and are no longer open to imaginative judicial rewriting.

So, how to choose a candidate?  Well, like everything of value, it takes a little work.

Hemingway said he was taught to “distrust adjectives.”  He was taught well. Politicians use adjectives, not to inform, but to tell you how to feel.  “Strong conservative,” tells you how to feel, not the ideology of the candidate.

But your feelings are your own. Why would you give another person permission to screw with your feelings?

Pay attention to ads.  Ignore the half-truths about “my opponent.”  Count the adjectives that attempt to dictate your feelings.  Vote for the candidate who respects you enough not to tell you how you should feel about him or his opponent.

If a candidate wants to manipulate your feelings, he’ll happily manipulate your wallet.

  * [When you catch an adjective, kill it.](https://www.davidhenderson.com/2012/07/02/when-you-catch-an-adjective-kill-it/) (davidhenderson.com)
  * [-ed and -ing adjectives](https://britishenglishtrainer.com/2012/07/06/ed-and-ing-adjectives/) (britishenglishtrainer.com)
  * [Time for Defiance, Resistance, and Resolve in Missouri](https://hennessysview.com/2012/07/06/time-for-defiance-resistance-and-resolve-in-missouri/) (hennessysview.com)
  * [Mo. Lt. Gov. battling GOP challengers](https://www.kshb.com/dpp/news/political/incumbent-kinder-faces-primary-challenge-from-lager) (kshb.com)