Shawn Maxam believes we need to contextualize statements made by political figures if we really want to understand what is at stake.
Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
We Americans can be so reductionist sometimes. We want to breakdown a ninety-minute presidential debate into a nine-second remark. As hilarious as everyone finds Romney’s “binders full of women” gaffe/comment I think it is more important to note the conservative discourse about women’s reproductive rights, access to equal pay and notions of workplace equity.
The same thing occurred when Romney said he loved PBS and Big Bird but wanted to cut funding for public television. Instead of looking at the substance or meaning behind politicians say we become so enamored with their slip-ups, mistakes and gaffes. We are all flawed when it comes to using language but if we become distracted by one silly comment by a presidential candidate we do a disservice to the messiness and complexity that is policy.
I am not saying everyone has to become an expert in political punditry but being an engaged citizen requires effort especially when our elected officials make decisions that not only affects us personally but the entire sociopolitical Eco-system. We know what Romney’s politics and policies are. Doing just a few minutes of research will illustrate this.
As a good friend of mine stated “At the very heart of modern conservative ideology is the belief that people should be free to discriminate, and that includes paying women whatever the hell they want. I wish more people, especially women, understood this”.
There isn’t just a “war on women” but a difference of ideologies and policy here. I am not a feminist but I don’t need to hear a politician say something trivial to understand his policies are unfair and detrimental to women. These women include my wife, my mother and my sisters. Context is always important but it is also confusing and complicated. Unfortunately soundbites don’t offer us much room for contextualizing.
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