Contributed by Terry Munson
In her book Wild Swans, author Jung Chang says that “Self-deception while deceiving others gripped the nation…The whole nation slid into doublespeak.” Although she was writing about China’s disastrous Great Leap Forward in the 1950’s, her words struck me as eerily relevant to America’s current political conversation. While President Obama publicly stresses his determination to avert a nuclear Iran, Mitt Romney distorts that message by telling his listeners that the President is ignoring the subject. As President Obama urges young Americans to take advantage of the vast array of educational opportunities available after high school, Rick Santorum spins that advice by calling him an ‘elitist’ for wanting everyone to go to college. Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, hopes to become president by deceiving the public about the achievability of $2.50 per gallon gasoline. All the candidates repeatedly invoke code words to remind devotees that the president is black. Their oft-repeated defense is to claim, in the next news cycle, that they were misinterpreted.