Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pandering with Hillary’s God-Given Potential

At last week’s Democratic Debate Hillary finally showed herself as confident and natural, something the American media — and voters — waited for years to see. It may have been a performance, but it seemed real enough — except for a little linguistic crack in her veneer of confidence, and I want to give Hillary a tip: 

Ditch the words, “God-given potential.” 

What’s so wrong with those words? you might wonder. For one thing, no one says “God-given potential.” Usually “potential” is enough; if need be, we might add, “such potential,” or “enormous potential.” But “God-given potential” is just not natural — and thus, the crack in Hillary’s new natural persona. She’s pandering.

That pretentious word pair rang false each time Hillary said it, and she said it not just once, but three – three --  times, throughout the debate. It was excessive, shameless wording that targeted the religious, those wanting some sort of sign that Hillary is a woman of faith. What they heard sounded more like a golden calf.

In his “I Have A Dream” speech Martin Luther King ended with “God Almighty, we’re free at last!” And in that case, the usage was integral to his entire message. But that was over half a century ago. These days, it’s all about the polls and getting support from anywhere, any group. But I thought it was the Republicans who had the Super-Pac with the word, “God.”

Hearing Hillary go all-fake for a few (god-given) potential extra votes might be smart politics, but it’s cynical. Even the Bible doth protest (remember Matthew 6:5 about not blurting out prayers on street corners?) George W pandered and wooed — and look where that’s led! (#teaparty)

The offending words first surfaced in Hill’s opening statement when she said that each child should have the chance “to live up to his or her God-given potential.” Ditto the second time (re the criminal justice system) and again referring to children “living up to their God-given potential.”

Why did I keep thinking she was going to say, “goddam potential?” Was it the way she drew out her Midwestern twangy, “Gahd –“?

The third time, toward the end of the debate, she said, “And I want to make sure every single person in this country has the same opportunities that he (Bill) and I have had, to make the most of their God-given potential.” 

That time, I laughed out loud. Again, I thought she was going to use the curse word. And I realized it’s because when we use (a lower-case) “god-given,” it’s actually in a negative way, as in: “Who says it’s your god-given right to …” or “She thinks she’s got this god-given ability to …”  It’s an emphatic and strategic usage, deployed to strengthen an argument. 

So, Hillary — if you are trying to use that word to name-drop your association with the Almighty to reach religious voters, please stop. Godfahbid you come off as false after all that practice sounding natural.

#Hillary #firstdemocraticdebate #godgiven #pander

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