Spotting trapo rhetoric
THERE are mobile ap plications that help you quickly identify songs as they are played. But in the political swing season, the dream app is the one that detects a trapo speech, that which counts the number of times the word “change” is being used or, perhaps, decipher the more complex task of spotting the times a political candidate plays safe on issues.
Voters can closely read a whole slew of campaign discourse and find a pattern that is more than helpful to spot a scheming trapo. As they say, a political gaffe is when a politician tells the truth.
One, either politicians take sides or they don’t. Usually, they don’t, unless they are willing to risk losing the support of one sector, and that sector happens to have a negligible size or can’t support one’s campaign financially. The best among them can actually give you an impassioned speech that doesn’t really say anything or take strong position on issues, except perhaps in convincing you that once in their lives they were like you, toiling in the heat, raising a family with meager resources and an occasional challenge in bowel movement.
Which bring us to the second trick up the sleeve. It’s a challenge to speak before a motley crowd with varying interests, but to solve it, our beloved bet unleashes a narrative that will drive everyone to a single aspiration. And here’s where the word “change” comes in handy. Everybody loves “change,” it’s one strange abstraction that is as real as the next meal. It’s “change,” and the whole notion of it mesmerizes the plumber, the bartender, the soldier, everyone dreams of not being stuck. It will be change for the better, and the gullible gets teary-eyed to speeches like those.
While you’re looking at a larger-than-life image of a candidate up the stage, he’d confess that he is actually a low life of some sorts.” Last time you remember, the humble champ sped by the barangay like a stiff broom on a full moon. So suddenly now there’s a “we” and an “our” and that finally you all should dream together for a better city, province, country, planet. And, look, he’s wearing your hat!
In the end, seriously, the few good men/women among them possess that steady identity of a true public servant, unwavering in principles, solid in their side of every issue. They negotiate, but they don’t play safe, they don’t lie, they stick to the overarching notions of respect for human life, free speech, justice, equality, among others. And there’s always track record.