By Noizee M
Tokyo’s talk the other night got me thinking. He is a very charismatic, well-spoken man who knows all the right things to say. I must say, I was impressed by his speech. But in the state of star-struck gazing, I got thinking about the reality of political speech. Is it actually possible to get a straight talking, honest politician or are we just lucky if they don’t cheat, rape or steal?
Words are a powerful tool and in the right hands they can do great things. But they can also deceive and cloud the bigger picture and those in the know call it political spin. I like to refer to it as lying. It’s not conventional to call PR and lobbying lies, but you know what, when you substitute blatant reality for a flowery version, that, as far as I’m concerned, is lying. We hear it all the time: wars in aid of oil and eliminating troublesome people are referred to as “wars on terror” and not so long ago the murdering of Jews in Nazi Germany was called “euthanasia”. It is easy to do and these are drastic examples, but in the end they are the same thing: big fat lies!
Now you may ask where I am going with this. People lie all the time, what’s the big deal? I would like to think that our next president, or any political figure handling our lives for that matter, will be a person who will tell me the truth. When the world asks us about our Aids problem, they will admit we have one as opposed to planting me a vegetable garden!
I’m particularly disturbed by this spinning trend because South Africa is meant to be this pillar of all things “democratic” in Africa and yet we have leaders who constantly lie to the people and expect us to take it. And on the large part, we do. If a leading business man calls himself a Marxist, I am slightly worried. It’s not that I didn’t hear his justification; it’s just that beyond the semantics and rhetoric behind the justifications, he is, in reality, still a capitalist. Mr Sexwale gave an impassioned speech about the meaning of political slogans and how not to use them lightly, now I want to know if the same should not be applied to public figures. If throwing around a term like Marxist is not a politically loaded statement not to be taken lightly, then I don’t know what is. Now don’t get me wrong, the man made some good points and he is certainly not the only one who spins, but the point is not whether he spins or not, but rather that politicians spin often and a lot. I would love to hear some frank talk, some who stands and speaks honestly. Is that too much to ask for?
I think that it is important that we really interrogate what we take in, especially as students at university. We have an important role to play as the next electorate and leaders of the future. If we cannot expect honesty from our politicians, then we have little to build our country on. As the old saying goes, the truth will set us free but I think we should keep things simple: Liar! Liar! Your pants will catch on fire! So just tell the truth damn it!