Monday, October 31, 2016

Election Year Lingo

Every election year, and especially during presidential elections, I find myself thinking, "Oh, yeah, I remember that word."  It's like running into an old friend at the supermarket and catching up.  Then I'll think, "Such an awesome word, I need to use it more."

And then November comes and goes, and with it goes all the bile, the invective, the hyperbole, and the pugilistic rhetoric.  It disipates like a toxic fog after a good rain, and these words fade from memory only to be re-born in my vocabulary in another four years.

So, here it is, Tom's list of big pretentious words, specially crafted for the election year:

BALKANIZED – When a large group of people who were once united becomes separated into factions that are hostile to one and other.

CAUCUS – A citizen’s meeting of members of a political party, for the purpose of choosing delegates to represent them at a larger convention.

DELEGATE – A person who gets elected by a group of people to go and vote for them.

DEMOCRACY – A system of government where EVERYONE votes on all decisions.  The US is NOT a democracy, it’s a republic.

DEMAGOGUE – A political leader who makes use of popular prejudices, or false claims and promises, or augments based on emotion rather than reason, in order to gain power.

DOGMA – (Also, dogmatic) An authoritative principle, belief or statement of opinion, especially one considered to be absolutely true and indisputable, regardless of evidence or without evidence to support it.  Often, political arguments which are largely propped up solely by religious belief.

FACTION – A sub-group belonging to any larger group of people, whose common goals or beliefs differ from those of the larger group.

HISTRIONICS – Behavior that is overly emotional or dramatic.

HUBRIS – Excessively (often foolishly) prideful

HYPERBOLE – Any language that is extravagantly exaggerated.

IN-FIGHTING – Bickering or quarreling between two or more factions with a much larger group, which would normally be united. (e.g.: “political in-fighting within the Nationalist party).

INCUMBENT – The candidate who is up for re-election (i.e.: the guy/gal currently in office)

INVECTIVE – Abusive speech, often laden with profanity.

OLIGARCHY – Government by the few.  Any form of government where a small group exercises un-checked control.

OSTENSIBLE – Anything done to show off for the sake of appearance, but really has a different underlying motive.

PLURALITY – A winning vote that is more than all other votes, but constitutes less than 50%.  Any winning vote that is not a majority vote.

POLEMICS – A strong written or spoken attack against someone else's opinions, beliefs, practices, etc.

PONTIFICATION – To express one’s position or opinions dogmatically and pompously as if they were absolutely correct.  To speak in a patronizing, supercilious or pompous manner, especially at length.

PUGILISTIC – Having a fighting quality (from PUGILISM, i.e., boxing)

RECALCITRANT – Stubbornly defiant of authority.

REFERENDUM – A direct popular vote on a proposed law or constitutional amendment.  Figuratively, popular a vote of approval or disapproval for a political philosophy or policy.

REPUDIATION – The act of refusing to accept.

REPUBLIC – A system of government like a democracy, but where large numbers of people elect representatives to go and vote and make decisions for them.

RHETORIC - language that is intended to influence people and that may not be honest or reasonable

SATIRE – Language that exaggerates an idea, person, government, or other group of people, and mocks in a humorous way, and portrays it as foolish, weak, ineffective, bad, etc.

SCAPEGOAT – A person or group of people who gets unfairly blamed for something that others have done

SHIBBOLETH – Words or sayings used by members of a party to identify themselves as supportive of a given cause, and often regarded by non-party members as empty of real meaning.  (e.g.: “pro-choice”, or “big government”)

TRUCULENT – Aggressively self-assertive; beligerent; combative.

VITRIOLIC – Extremely bitter or crossive in quality, especially virulence in feeling or speech.