2006-03-09 / Sam Bari

You can't beat a system you can't understand

An exciting career in politics can be yours
By Sam Bari

Have you ever wondered how people in elected positions survive working their way up the political ladder in a world so philosophically divided?

This fascinating question demanded the skills of our most experienced researchers to find a comprehensive answer. As expected, they uncovered the amazing information you need to pursue a lucrative career as an upand coming political candidate.

A surprising fact: succeeding in the political arena is not that difficult if you are willing to accept that accountability is an occupational hazard. Once you learn to work your way around that little glitch in the trade, the rest is relatively easy.

Next, it is most important to learn how to use and create buzzwords and terms that make constituents on all sides of the complex maze of political fences feel confident that you are satisfying their agenda. This can sometimes be tricky. Trendy words, phrases, and clichs have limited lifespans because people will eventually figure out what they really mean. So, it is important to get the most out of them by using each catch phrase as often as possible during speeches and when talking to the dreaded media.

You can find an example of this technique in the following promise, the likes of which you have heard many times: "We are aggressively pursuing an efficient and timely solution to (insert cause, issue, crisis, etc. here) with unrelenting resolve." Translated, this means: "We are determined to dedicate the least amount of time and energy necessary to put this annoying matter to rest, but we will continue to appear as if we are committed by mindlessly spending your money, at least until the media focuses on something else."

Notice how the wording does indeed commit to a promise of a mythical solution to some unspecified problem. However, nowhere does it offer an actual plan, let alone a viable strategy with a realistic timetable for accomplishing the task.

"Aggressively pursuing" and "with resolve" of any description are tired, worn-out, overworked idiomatic phrases that are mercifully seeing less time in useless political jargon. Lamentably, other equally smarmy and slippery studies in blatant ambiguity are replacing these gems of political lack of wisdom.

Another meaningless phrase that survived with variations for a few years, but is long overdue for retirement, concerns somebody doing something that went "under the radar," or "off the screen." These are techno-terms used to take the place of "fell through the cracks." Translated, they mean: "We got by with something and it's too late for you to do anything about it. In other words, we put one over on you."

A phrase that is currently enjoying the spotlight and will probably do so for quite some time because it offers a broad spectrum of interpretation is the word "flexible." When a politician says: "We must be flexible," or asks, "Can we be flexible?" on a certain issue, budget, interpretation of legislation, imposing of a prison sentence, etc., what do they really mean? They mean everything from: "Can we consider compromising our agendas and still achieve a common goal?" to, "You are so far removed from reality that your own party suspects that you work for a foreign government bent on bringing down our current administration." This buzzword enjoys popularity because it is nauseatingly polite even when being used as a lethal political weapon.

Once in a while, the media will relentlessly pursue demanding the fulfillment of one of your promises. On these trying occasions, it is necessary to learn how to assume the panic mode without appearing to be in the panic mode. You can easily accomplish this task by retreating to "behind closed doors."

What is really happening behind those closely guarded portals is the assumption of the panic posture. This never before revealed technique requires you and your entire entourage to run in small circles and wave your arms wildly while you scheme and pout without being observed by your constituents. Then, you throw the weakest member of your staff to the media wolves so he can be immediately devoured before the eyes of a cheering public. Hopefully, before his ultimate political demise, he will deliver a statement that says you are sequestered in an undisclosed location with your best advisors. Here, you are dedicating your life to working on the crisis of the moment. Then, when a greater crisis allows its presence to be known, you can come out and take charge with confidence while the committee you assigned to the original problem takes the heat for failing to solve it.

The most important thing to remember is to avoid being brought to justice. When you break the word "justice" down it translates to: "just ice." It is cold and hard, but easily melts when under scrutiny.

If you can thrive under these conditions, you are possibly one of the reasons we live in a system we can't understand.

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