January 19: The message is not the meaning

20 January 2010 | 76 Comments » | pablo

When do politicians mean what they say?   Bitter reality would indicate hardly ever. (”Read my lips, I will not raise taxes.”  “Weapons of mass destruction.”) Too many politicians shade, posture, twist, dissemble, and outright lie to manipulate us and the media.  Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s (D-Manhattan) current “support” for charter schools is today’s case in point.  His smoke ‘n mirrors bill would raise the cap on NY charter schools, but–to the delight of NYSUT, the teachers’ union–with an ironclad hidden backdoor clamp on new ones. 

This result would protect feckless educators and unsuccessful schools while diminishing marketplace competition for students.  Mayor Bloomberg rightly called Silver out on this one. 

Silver is a devout basketball fan/player.  He knows how to head feint.  But these linguistic slights of hand–these dirty talk tricks–undermine public confidence in our elected representatives.  They create public confusion.  And they boost partisanship.  After all, party affiliation and toeing “the party line” make life and thinking easier for us dim, dreary citizens who are busy trying to run businesses, communities, families, and lives.

Shameless political posturing–saying one thing but believing and intending another–not only promotes strident partisanship, it destroys collaboration in trying to actually solve state problems. 

Enjoy your day.  Paul