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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

In Politics, Beware of Labels

Most brand marketing uses labels, and some of it is misleading. Other labels are designed to mean one thing while taking advantage of a popularly-held misconception. Just consider the term "organic" which should not be considered synonymous with "healthy."

Here's something that's organic: anthrax. I can hear it now:

The miracle weight loss drug, Anthrax.
Side effects may include breathing difficulty, respiratory failure and sudden death.
Ask your doctor if Anthrax is right for you.

So it is with political labels. The term "Constitution" and phrase "defending the Constitution" are being thrown around much, much more than they were two years ago. I doubt it's because our President is a former constitutional law professor.  (Indeed, President Obama was a con-law professor at the University of Chicago law school.)

The terms "Constitution" and "defending the Constitution" and other like phrases convey legitimacy and an adherence and obedience to a legitimate-sounding set of beliefs. Many of the terms are used by people whose views can be described as, "don't know much about it, but it sounds good."   But beware that this cloak of legitimacy may conceal the true meaning, purpose and motives of its wearers.  After all, the veneer of legitimacy -- the facade, if you will -- is no substitute for honest substance.

Other oft-abused terms: independent, reform and conservative. For some reason, the term "progressive" seems to be much more carefully used.

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