Thursday, September 4, 2008

Through the Looking Glass

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,' it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.'
'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'
'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master - that's all.'

During election years, I find that I tend to feel a little bit like Alice Through the Looking Glass. Words don't always mean what you think they mean. People all seem a little bit crazy. Ideas fly around that make no sense --- but people pretend that do, for a variety of reasons.

Some folks can even give words and phrases meanings completely opposite to what you think they should mean. My eyes get wide when votes just nod and accept that this is ok, this is real, and that it all makes sense. I'm starting to finally catch on after watching quite a few elections.

For example, the phrase "fiscal conservative". You'd think that it would mean keeping spending low, staying within a budget, not spending more than you have. But no. It actually means spending our children's money, borrowing against the future and leaving huge deficits.

Who knew?

Similarly, "tax and spend liberal". This sounds just awful, doesn't it? And yet, history tells us that this really means balanced budgets and prosperity.

The party that hates "big government" is actually the party that expands government the most and bloats those budgets with new departments. It's really effective camouflage!

"Maverick" apparently means angry, temperamental and an impulsive hair trigger.

"Reformer" - this one is tricky, because it apparently means the same as "I am well acquainted with the workings of the ethics commission."

Simply amazing. Everyone should learn a second language, it's so eye-opening!

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