Politically Incorrect vs. Politically Efficient


Our son loves to chide us when we ask him to watch the evening news by saying that the word “politics” is derived from two Latin words: “Poly” meaning many and “Ticks” meaning blood sucking parasites. He may be correct even though he may be taking some liberties with Latin.


We all have noticed how sensitive people have become to the way we say things. Well, at least most of us are sensitive to this. We now have a vocabulary of seemingly gentle ways of describing people that has evolved from being in a slower group to now being described as “challenged.”


Yes, indeed, we all have challenges. I am follically challenged instead of being described as bald. I guess I am also height challenged for my weight … I am simply too short for my weight and therefore just need to grow taller.


The bigger question is not what we call things but how we manage and improve things. And, sometimes it helps to just say what we mean to make that clear. However, when we are perfectly clear and brash, we perhaps ruin the chances for progress in political dealings.


For example, calling President Putin a “thug” may get Americans to cheer, but it does little to help us negotiate with him. Calling existing politicians stupid may be a great soundbite for the evening news, but it almost rules out the chances that the person saying this will get very far with those parties.


When I was a child we called this balancing act “tact” and being polite. We called people adept at this as ambassadors and statesmen. Individuals like this are politically efficient because they spend less time worrying about what they say than how they can elicit positive change. They are more than diplomatic … they are effective at bringing about positive change.


Seems like we should be measuring success in our system a different way than we do. Seems like the average American would like to see aspects of our country improve. But maybe the news cycle is not interested in things like this at all. They only seem to be covering the politically incorrect and not those who can be politically efficient.


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