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Saturday, May 15, 2010

In Politics Words Matter

By Silvia Uribe

Wordle: Words Matter

During election times more than ever, negative words and comments are at the forefront of our minds and our attention. Candidates seem not to understand that voters get as tired of dirty tactics and low blows, as we get discouraged from voting for those who cannot have a clean campaign.

We all use words in many different ways. How we use them, however, says more than the words themselves. The way we communicate, and the words we choose show who we really are, and what we're about. They show our intentions, our feelings, and even our ulterior motives. We can have problems with others due to our words, or we can create long-term alliances.

Hate words, as we know, can promote dissension and division between individuals, groups, governments, and even among countries.

Some politicians take words very lightly, and people around them would like to think that the repercussions of a word said are as short- lived as the sound of such word. They forget that a simple word can break strong bonds, separate friends, siblings, parents and children, and that certain words that are carelessly said at a given moment could be engraved in others' memory forever.

The fact is that some candidates take many liberties and many risks with their words. In their pursuit of power, some politicians say regrettable things, and then they act surprised and offended when others call them on it. They don't learn the lesson. They do this over and over, pretending that those to whom their harsh words are directed, and the voters in general, have the obligation to forgive them, and forget their lies and whatever negative discourse they've created, just with the purpose of winning an election.

The main thing, however, that they forget to take into consideration is that other candidates are not the only ones who are negatively impacted or the only ones who suffer the consequences of the detrimental words they use. It is they too, who fall victim to those negative, hurtful, or mean expressions of their ambition.

Some politicians may think that by bad-mouthing, criticizing, or trying to hurt another person's reputation, people will be convinced to turn their backs to such person, and choose to be on their side. But, much to their surprise, their own name, reputation, and motivation is being judged as much, or even more, than the object of their criticism.

We, as voters, tend to doubt the motives of those who throw attacks at another person just to accomplish whatever they want to achieve. We immediately wonder how someone can invest so much effort, energy, and money to soil another person's name. It definitely leaves us with a bad taste, and with a great deal of distrust for the attacker.

To the contrary, those who use positive words and messages, and focus on their campaigns and on their own accomplishments (because they do have them), even in the face of baseless attacks, take the high road. By doing that, they are showing us their strength, their compassion and the way they'll react in the future when things become difficult. This is a much more effective way to convince voters, if you ask me.

In the end, the words we use are the most accurate expression of our inner selves, and the best proof of who we could be during those tough moments that we all go through, no matter who we are, what we do, or what social position we're in.

Hopefully, politicians will soon realize this and stop the negative campaigns that reflect so poorly on them, and are so disgusting to most voters.

Silvia Uribe is a freelance writer with a Latino perspective.

Cross-posted at

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