Political speeches do not need obscenities

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Much of today's political chaos is little more than groundwork for the 2018 midterm and the 2020 presidential elections.

Democrats are pushing their well-worn obstructionist model to favorably position themselves for higher office. They believe that chaos today will translate into votes tomorrow.

Without a consensus leader, the Dems are looking for new faces to lead their party from the shambles of the 2016 elections.

Two prominent voices on the left have both been crowned "rising stars" on the Democratic Party horizon.

New York's Kirsten Gillibrand and California's Kamala Harris are both jockeying for position to enter the national stage.

Both bring deep progressive roots and both are attractive, articulate candidates.

And one interesting note: Both are also generous with the F bomb in their public language.

The two "rising stars" have directed their colorful tirades at President Trump and both have been greeted with rousing applause from their loyal supporters.

Now I'm no prude. I am not unfamiliar with the language used by the two legislators and have been amply guilty of using inappropriate language. I am not proud.

I guess what concerns me is the casual use by these two prominent politicians of language that should be left in the pool hall.

Go back to Lenny Bruce and George Carlin. They lifted the veil on obscene language and forced government to impose social controls on those offending words.

Those efforts have largely failed.

The public use of obscene language should not be a litmus test for elected office.

But the public utterance of the F bomb should tell us something about the character and consideration of others.

Within recent weeks, Gillibrand and Harris have both used the colorful language in public speaking engagements that were televised.

Using the F bomb, these two are somehow separating themselves from the herd of hopefuls. It seems a risky gamble but one they are apparently willing to take.

And for those keeping score, yes indeed the word is used on both sides of the political aisle.

The everyday use of the F bomb is not a sign of social structure's total collapse. It is however one small step closer.

We are pushing the limits of decency and once we've crossed that invisible line, there is no going back.

These two hopefuls for higher office continue to push the boundaries of speech in a manner that forces others to have uncomfortable conversations with their grandchildren.

And if these two - and countless others - believe using the F bomb will make them appear tough, they are mistaken.

It just makes them look small.

Michael Jensen

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