Vagueness Causes for Mislead Voters in Political Campaigns
Just as evolution has taken place in animals over the decades and causing for many species to arise. Language has also evolved and changed over the years to fit different means of society. Over the years, the English language has become uninformative and vague. This vagueness has not only affected individual’s everyday lives but also their ability to understand political campaigns and make political decisions while being informed citizens of a nation. I argue that the use of the English language in a vague and uninformative manner causes for the political decisions being made that are based on information that is not well understood.
In “Politics and Language” by George Orwell, he also argues that the language utilized by political parties is vague and incompetent language is used to remain abstract to the listener or reader.The use of language in this manner is often seen in the presidential elections campaigns in the United States.
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The electoral speeches and debates politicians use vague language that lacks any real meaning and connotations in order to remain abstract to the listeners and readers.
During the 2016, presidential elections in the United States of America, the candidate for the republicans, Donald Trump was giving a speech on the topic of immigration in the United States. Donald Trump said to the media, “In recent days, the media — as it usually does — has missed the whole point on immigration; If we don’t enforce visa expiration dates, then we have an open border. It’s as simple as that” (NBC News, 2018). The purpose of the speech is to inform voters about the Republican parties plans on the national problems that arise due to an increase in the number of immigrants entering the country. However, Mr. Trump’s comments do not relate to the issue that needs to be addressed.
His language lacks meaning and is not informative as is he is deflecting the question at hand. Instead, he redirects the question towards the media and thus, misguiding the voters. The uses of phrases such as “If we don’t…” and “Then we have…” (NBC News, 2018) cause for the belief that there are only two options to be able to deal with immigration. This causes for the reader to believe there is an ultimatum. Trump fails to address how the exit and entry into the country will work and what will happen to those overstaying their visa’s due to his vagueness. In addition to this, during the presidential elections in 2016, Trump used the catch phrase, “Make America Great Again” (The Odyssey Online).
Orwell presents a translation in his essay, “Politics and Language” regarding the existence of catch phrases that exist in the modern era due to old English. Trump managed to evoke a patriotic feeling within the voters. Despite, being able to evoke such an emotion Trump, is vague and fails to create a specific image in the minds of the audience as to how he will have a hand in making the United States great again due to a lack of meaning in his words. Orwell presents a translation in his essay, “Politics and Language” regarding the existence of catch phrases that exist in the modern era due to old English.
Secondly, during elections, politicians will say anything that makes the opposition look less appealing to the audience. No comments from the past and present are spared when trying to create an image of a party in the minds of the audience. In order for this imagery to be created, language must be used in a manner where it has a definite meaning. The meaning of a text consists of various connotations. Connotations of language can be both positive and negative. Orwell uses dictations such as “incompetence, bad, worse, ugly (ugliness), vague, abstract” in order to describe negative connotations found in the modern day English.
During the 2016 elections Hilary Clinton the representative for the Democrats also did not spare her opposition. Hilary says in her comments about Donald Trump that he is, “taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over one of America’s two major political parties” (NBC News, 2018). Such strong negative connotations cause for negative imagery of Trump in the minds of voters. This in turn acts as a cover up for the flaws of the Democrat representative and misleads the voters. These negative connotations are often used in politics as it redirects negative attention. The connotations may be misunderstood as they are used in a general manner and do not target something specific about the opposition, thus creating a general negative image.
Lastly, one can see that the English language can have many flaws when being presented to an another individual. Politicians such and Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton and many others fall a prey to using such language as they are trying to deliver a message that they think is going to be beneficial to them and hence leave out details causing for their audience to be uninformed and mislead. Whether this is purposeful or not the use of Modern day English in such a manner is not acceptable when there are such serious matters at hand. Orwell presents 5 ways in which an individual can improve the way in which they utilize the English language. Orwell states that one should,
” Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. Never use a long word where a short one will do. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. Never use the passive where you can use the active. Never use a foregin phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of a everyday English equivalent,” (Orwell, 2619).
Orwell indicates that in order to get rid of vagueness and abstractness from not just political writing but everyday writing using Modern English one must simplify the message that one wants to convey and get straight to the point. Getting straight to the point in a political matter will effectively convey where a party stands with their priorities and agenda for the office. Thus, allowing for the voters to be well informed while making their decision.
To conclude, individuals must realize that the way in which the English language has been, currently is and in the future will change. Despite this, one needs to be aware of what is being conveyed to the public by politicians. While realizing this one will know that politicians are not being informative and are misleading the citizens of the nation. In today’s time, the avoidance of such language will allow for one to better decipher the purpose of a message and the agenda that comes along with it, preventing us from being misled when voting.