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The Political Dictionary

To our readers:

You understand the Roland Burris fiasco, don't you? Of course you do. You're an average person. Me, too. Those of us not professionally embroiled in political office-holding or office-seeking understand what's happening with relative clarity. It's only those involved in the business of politics that seem befuddled. And isn't Sen. Burris really Mister Magoo writ large?

It's the oldest problem of all in human interaction. What do words mean? And why do their meanings vary from person to person so drastically? Even reporters lapse into this alternate universe - sort of Roland Burris meets Heroes meets Orwell. Here's how to understand the world of political vocabulary adjustment without the concept of "just tell the truth" intruding on the process.

The Evolving Explanation. OK, so you don't buy the first explanation, how about this one? No? Then, let's try . . . You notice how no one evolves an explanation from a thoughtful, logical original to one that makes absolutely no sense. Explanations "evolve" only when the early attempts are ludicrous, and we are too polite to call them lies.

The Fluid Nature of Events. Or, in the words of Burris attorney Tim Wright, "the fluid nature of questions." Fluidity prevents truth on the front end, and allows for explaining away lies on the back end.

Cleaning Up. As in, "We'll clean up the affidavit/claimt/perjurious statement later, preferably in a document that nobody will see.

Not Recalling. Also known as Misremembering. Remembering is hard if you are a public official. Except when it comes to decades-old slights and marketable, detailed moments of one's biography.

Having Nothing To Hide. Only people with something to hide have "nothing to hide."

Feeling Betrayed. Only people who knew all along "feel betrayed."

Not Resigning. Once a public official publicly states that he or she will not resign, that public official's days are numbered.

Not Wanting To Be A Distraction. Public officials unwilling to admit their negligence will instead play martyrs by resigning so they don't "become a distraction" from the public's business. Ironically, this often occurs once the public is so sick of a scandal it doesn't care anymore.


Consider this the first set of entries in The Beachwood Reporter's Political Dictionary. Send your entries in and we'll compile as many as we can. Don't forget to let us know if we can use your name or if you have a good reason to remain anonymous.


Posted on February 17, 2009

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BOOKS - All About Poop.


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