Commentary

Saunders: No need to drink, but please vote

bsaunders@newsobserver.comMay 5, 2014 

Listen, ma’am, if you’re drinking booze because I tell you to, you’ve got bigger problems than who gets elected. Or doesn’t.

In a recent column, your humble public serpent suggested that we could make the televised Republican senatorial debates more entertaining if we took a shot of booze each time one or the other of them used a coded buzzword or one meant to hide their actual meaning.

Some people took that to mean that the streets would be turned into demolition derbies and homes torn asunder when thousands of you took to drink on my suggestion.

“My father was an alcoholic and I saw firsthand the damage” drinking causes, began several responses to that column.

Really, folks? No one here is making sport of alcohol abuse, but again, if you’re drinking because I tell you to ...

Besides, only a few people actually admitted to playing “boozeketball” during the subsequent debate, and one of them said he passed out before the nine-minute mark.

What does it tell you?

On top of that, politicians who know they can get your support by merely using a few choice phrases or words that have been rendered meaningless from overuse are way more dangerous than I.

Regardless of your political affiliation or philosophy, does a candidate saying “I’m a conservative” tell you anything about her or him – especially when every other candidate is saying the same thing? Or does it matter who says it the most? Or the loudest?

The rules of boozeketball – patent pending – included having to take a nip each time one of the GOP hopefuls sneered “Obamacare,” since calling the health care act by its real name – the Affordable Care Act – endangers one’s conservative credentials. Among the other words and phrases that were to be followed by a nip were “entitlements,” “job creators,” “free-market” and “liberal media.”

Of course, the granddaddy of red-meat buzzwords, and the one sure to inspire the most shots of Old Granddad, is “conservative.”

What the heck does that even mean?

Far more helpful it would be if the candidates told us what they actually stand for or against, and what parts of the big, evil government they intend to cut? Minus that, anybody who identifies himself or herself with one word only and who thinks the same way about every issue is, to use a medical term, an idiot.

Most of us with functioning gray mattresses are probably like the comedian Chris Rock, who said he’s liberal on some things and conservative on others. For instance, he said he’s liberal when it comes to prostitution.

Hear, hear.

Go to the polls Tuesday

Acknowledging in that recent column that Democrats have their own thoughtless buzzwords and phrases – “the 1 percent” or “progressive” when what they mean is “liberal” being two that come easily to mind – didn’t prevent many from accusing me of taking out a hit on, you guessed it, conservatives.

Oy. When you go to the polls Tuesday – and please, go to the polls today – your criteria for giving someone your precious vote should be higher than who can say a particular word the most or the loudest.

It’s too late now, but in the 2016 election, the rules for boozeketball will include not voting for any candidates who have to say they’re “progressive” or “conservative.”

It should go without saying, but obviously I have to say it anyway: Please don’t drink each time a political candidate uses a buzzword that replaces real thought and obfuscates their real meaning. There’ll be plenty of time – and reason – to get drunk once your chosen candidate gets into office.

 

Saunders: 919-836-2811 or bsaunders@newsobserver.com

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