Meaningless and misleading political words

The local political season is back here in Wilmington, North Carolina and the usual hype, hyperbole and hypocrisy abound in ads to attract voter’s interest. One often heard slogan used by a woman running for the Wilmington City Council proclaims: Working together we’re making good things happen. But what does that mean?

On the front of a large postcard-type mailing advertisement next to the slogan our candidate is shown in three pictures. The implication of “working together” is unclear—working with whom? The pictures indicate to me that she works with other politicians, bureaucrats and special interests.

In one frame she’s shown with the county manger, a highly paid employee whose interest is to manipulate the city council to tax and spend more. In fact, some of us believe that he actually controls the county government; the council members are merely figureheads presiding over a large bureaucracy that the manager expands and rewards with council blessings.

In a second picture the candidate is shown with the mayor looking at some paperwork. She claims to be a Republican and the mayor is a big government Democrat. Why would she want to be “working together” with him? A fiscally responsible opponent would be “working” for her constituents to prevent government from taking more of their money and imposing more regulations.

In a third picture she is shown with two women. It’s not clear what this indicates. Are they county employees that she seems to be happily “working with,” or are they a private interest group expecting some favor? Either way these people don’t represent all the city residents for which she should be “working.”

Then there’s the phrase: we’re making good things happen. What “good” things? On the back of the postcard the candidate pledges—if residents vote for her—to “continue to fight for__­­­­_.”

But why are political candidates always fighting for something? Why can’t they simply promise to stand on constitutional principles that limit government and protect our lives, liberties and property? Rather than working for “good things” she should be trying to improve government—reducing its size, focusing on the proper limited use of it and making it more responsive—but, of course not.

Our candidate tells us she will “fight for… preservation of our environment” (misleading words that probably indicate she will side with activists who oppose businesses that use natural resources for the benefit of all of us).

She also will “fight for…quality of life we treasure.” That is meaningless because how does she presume to know what 100,000 city residents “treasure” in their various lifestyles? Most important, that is not a proper role for government and inappropriate for our representatives to involve themselves—using coercive powers of the state.

The candidate also promises to protect the old downtown city “historic” district and expand “green space, parks and trails.” These government projects continue to add more costs to residents, requiring higher taxes, increased public debt and more bureaucrats. All these programs are in place and serve the interests of only a small number of city residents, yet they continue to grow.

She will fight for “clean industries.” This is typical environmental code for companies that don’t manufacture natural resources; probably, subliminally directed at the Carolinas Cement Company that activists—falsely claiming the company will add excessive amounts of air and water pollutants—have been fighting for six years to prevent building a new, modern plant north of Wilmington at an old manufacturing site.

And, she’ll only fight for “clean” industries if they “provide diversified employment”—code words for various favored ethnic and gender groups. It’s not politicians’ role to interfere with business employment practices.

The city council candidate will also fight for “existing small businesses.” I have no idea what that means. Will she battle to reduce burdensome taxes and regulations on all businesses? Or does she expect to hand out more taxpayer-funded “incentives” to select businesses?

Anyway, this city council candidate claims she has Proven Leadership…That Works—whatever that means. It likely indicates that she colludes with the local political class to lead city residents into increased public debt; build more costly government structures that don’t benefit most residents; and lead government to crony relationships with a few real estate people, developers and government-sponsored, self-serving tourism/convention center agencies. These people work to fleece visitors of their money to pay for more local promotion and expand their bureaucracy.

Meanwhile, some city residents plead with their “leaders,” in vain, to improve the local drainage systems and relieve them of threats from occasional flooding.

Clearly what’s “proven” here is that this candidate for city council does not understand her proper role as a government representative of all Wilmington residents, or she deliberately intends to deceive them with meaningless and misleading words.

Government is not a social club handing out benefits to its members; it’s always a powerful threat to our individual liberties and property—therefore, we need representatives who recognize that and will work to prevent it.

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About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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