Sunday, September 21, 2008

A No Wax in the Ear Critique of Candidate Rhetoric by Edwin Young

A ‘No Wax in the Ear’ Critique of the Rhetoric of Presidential Candidates
By Edwin L. Young, PhD

You cannot be elected saying what the right thing to do is. You especially cannot be elected if you say you promise to do it, ‘Cross your heart and hope to die!’ They try to cloak their near but fatal miss of the truly right thing and the ‘really’ real reality in heroically sounding oratory. Their unknowing, devoted, cheering fans are spellbound and tragically taken in by the razzle-dazzle of it all.

At the far end of the spectrum, moldy old McCain thinks he can win by touting the old saw of beware of the socialistic democrats, preserve free enterprise, and privatize everything. Regarding the people crippled by the free enterprise generated recession, and especially the poor, he might as well be repeating Marie Antoinette’s famous saying, “Let them eat cake!”

McCain is like an ancient gramophone recording on a cylinder that is playing a late 19th century recording called “America, the Greatest in Everything”. He keeps winding it up again and saying as though apropos to the twenty-first century, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, not realizing that the complaint is not about being broken, it is just one hundred and fifty years out of date. Nevertheless, he keeps playing that same archaic, chauvinistic song over and over and no one wants to listen to the obsolete, scratchy old thing anymore. Seemingly deaf and dumb to the screaming, protesting, hordes from the modern world at his doorstep, he nostalgically says, “Play it again, Sam (Uncle, that is.).” Meanwhile, he lies back in his airborne luxury liner to reminisce about the good ole days when our might made our every choice right. He puffs up his wheezing chest and croaks out how America is losing its true grit and it needs him to ‘’buck us up!”. Then, as seniors often do, he drifts off into a glory-reviving slumber.

Oddly, in his campaign speeches, he imagines himself, now, to be the candidate for change. Unfortunately, his distance vision suffers from nearsightedness. Moreover, while his vision of the future is decidedly blurred, objects in his rearview mirror seem closer than they are.

In his snooze, he summons up oldies with rapt devotion. As he does, he fantasizes being John Wayne in a shoot ‘em up movie or else he is General Custer at Little Big Horn actually winning his last stand. In his surreal, dreamlike state, he sends back messages to General Terry saying, “We’re winning, we’re winning, we really are winning.” And, thereafter, as a hostess shakes back to reality, his messages from the battle front forever stop.

This old warrior has failed to realize that it is not 1876, or even 1776, anymore. The world awaits a brave, reality-based message which is relevant for a vastly transformed, new world.

McCain’s message to the world seems painfully antiquated, even transmogrified, and fanatically irrelevant.

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