The good news from this political season, news that bodes well for our future as a nation, is that young people are becoming engaged in record numbers. My son, Aaron (whose cartoons have appeared here), to cite but one, just got engaged on Feb. 29 to a lovely graphic artist from Detroit (a Romney voter like me). Just kidding… I mean ‘engaged’ in the political dialogue of our time. These young ‘uns across the country are taking a fresh interest in the process, what you might call a primary education. Many are confounded by the evolving jargon used by insiders at this game. To help them acclimate, herewith a glossary of commonly used terms. Know these and you can hit the argot target and get the patois down pat.
DISENFRANCHISEMENT — Being locked out of the McDonald’s when the candidate and his entourage are chowing down.
PLEBISCITE — A Democrat coalition achieved by merging the plebes with the parasites.
CONTRIBUTION — Money a businessman gives a Democrat, pretending to back his (the Dem’s) program of taking his (the tycoon’s) money, in the hope that his (tycoon) giving the money to him (Dem) will convince him (D) to cool it if he (D) wins and take less from him (t), secretly hoping he (D) will lose, leaving him (t) with his (t) money more or less intact and him (D) still owing him (t) a favor. (Etymology: con, meaning against, and tribute, meaning admiration.)
STUMP SPEECH — An oratorical presentation, ostensibly to deliver views, which manages to circumvent substantive issues so neatly that listeners are left stumped.
CHARISMA — An intangible something that makes the audience gibber.
SPOKESPERSON — An intangible somebody that gibbers to the audience.
HEALTH CARE — A plan by lawyers who leave private practice to go into politics to slam the last few doctors who evaded their lawsuits.
ENTITLEMENT — The perspective of Bill and Hillary Clinton upon the Presidency, your money, and in his case, your lady friend as well.
DEBATE — A forum in which each candidate tries to say nothing, say it well, and sneer at the nothing their opponent is saying.
CAUCUS — A specially-designed system whereby people who do not want to vote with their heads or their hearts can vote with their feet.
HEADQUARTERS — What you get when the halfwit campaign managers multiply.
POLL — A ritual in which minimum-wage employees call people who are home unemployed to ask their opinions about matters great and small, so high-income employees reading the paper will know what to think.
SOCIAL SECURITY — The ability to walk up to a perfect stranger, shake their hand and ask for a vote.
HUSSEIN — Either the guy we were totally right to depose, and McCain said so first, or totally wrong to depose, and Obama said so first, or a name that joins RODHAM in the trash bin of discarded, unmentionable middle names.
RODHAM — Who?
TEXAS — A state that rewards politicians who sound hopeful.
OHIO — A state that rewards politicians who sound depressed.
DELEGATE — If a verb, it’s yelling at some campaign worker schnook, “I want the South Dakota overnights and I want them now!” If a noun, it’s some state representative schnook at the convention, who you coo at, “I was just in South Dakota overnight last week, and it was quite lovely, although I lost a shoe in the snow.”
CAMPAIGN BUDGET — The line that a campaign exceeds by many millions in effort to sell you a candidate who promises to balance the government budget.
NAFTA, SCHIP, EITC, AMT — Various alphabet soup programs, the detailed contents of which are known to few politicians and less voters. When someone brings one up, the candidate turns to his handlers and whispers: “Are we for this?”
ENDORSEMENT — What unpaid Clinton campaign staffers are waiting to see at the bottom of their paychecks.
This should help the youth of America get started in their new pursuit of following the political realm. It is critical that terminology be applied with great exactitude. This primer will give you the head start you need. Of course, your real initiation — your true engagement – will kick in on Election Day. Henceforth, like my son’s engagement on Feb. 29, you can observe the anniversary of that special day… every four years!