What's with all the uproar about Paul Ryan being a liar? He's just doing the duplicitous work of his profession, using the language of modern politics to mislead rather than to lead. They all do it.
They all do it, and it does great harm to the American people who haven't had a successful Commander in Chief tell it like it is since pre-TV era Dwight Eisenhower, because they probably wouldn't vote for someone who hit them with the truth.
Political language has always had a way of telling it like it isn't, but back in the days when the public could count on the objective media to clear up the fog of politics, its harm could be mitigated. Today, however, we don't trust the media almost as much as we don't trust politicians, because of the misuse and disuse of language that seeks to manipulate rather than seeking the truth. In fact, political language has evolved into an Orwellian nightmare in which conventional wisdom dictates that a candidate who tells it like it is will not win. The winner will be the one who is best at pretending to tell it like it is as he tells it like it isn't, and Paul Ryan - who could be a character right out of Orwell's "Animal Farm" - has proved to be very good at that.
Political slogans, labels, acronyms and buzzwords all have the self-serving effect of misleading in an attempt to lead. Think about it. "No Child Left Behind" puts anyone who takes issue with it in the unappealing position of appearing to be a villain who wants to leave kids in the dust. "Hope and Change" leaves you no choice to agree with it or you sound like you prefer to be stuck in hopelessness. "Students First" leaves opponents looking like jerks who want to put their agendas ahead of the education of our children. The list of such items could fill pages.
The most divisive label on that long list, however, has to be the term "Pro-life." That is a "gotcha!" if there ever was one. If you argue against it you are automatically "anti-life," which only a dark individual no sane person would vote for would claim to be.
Wouldn't it be refreshing and honest - and telling it exactly like it is - if a more accurate label were used so that the discourse around the issue could be more accurate? In fact, what the so-called pro-lifers are actually professing is a pro-birth belief, not a pro-life one, and there is a big difference.
There is nothing misleading or politically negative about the term "pro-birth" but that may be exactly why the term is not used in politics, for if those who readily accept and profess the label "pro-life" were true to that label they would have to take into consideration the 80 or so years of life following birth and not just the nine months leading up to it. And they would also have to consider the life of the mother and not just the life growing inside her. The prefix "pro" means "for." The pro-life folks are not necessarily for life, but they are for birth, thus the label is misleading.
The Republican "pro-life" platform, which both Ryan and Romney claim not to support as they support it (political double-speak that would make Orwell smile!) would force a woman to give birth to a child who is the product of rape, essentially abdicating the rights Constitutionally guaranteed in the life of the mother for the birth of the child. That is pro-birth, not pro-life. A true pro-life platform would not only protect the mother but would also guarantee that once a child is born everything after that event would be for life. That would include ensuring that the person be properly nurtured as a child and in old age, and seeing to it that food and shelter and education and medical care and all the other human needs that occur after birth are met. But if you match those expensive life needs against the platform of the so-called pro-lifers you will find a disconnect. You might even find that the label is purely political.
Do not expect the pro-life group to accept the more accurate label, however, because in modern politics accuracy is a death sentence, and the death sentence is certainly not pro-life, though, ironically, you will find that many who profess to be pro-life also support the death penalty. And a considerable number of pro-lifers are against contraceptives, which are the surest way other than abstinence (except, of course, in the case of rape) and sterilization to prevent abortions. And a more accurate label for those folks would be "anti-choice." But that would mean telling it like it is.
Until another George Orwell surfaces to take the polish off the euphemisms of political propaganda, or until reporters in the media do their job, or until we begin to take the time to think about what is behind what we are being told, don't expect politicians to start telling it like it is, and give "pro-life" Paul Ryan credit for being good at what he does.
Mike Ruskovich is a Blanchard resident.