• Cynthia Dagnal-Myron

Tone Deaf Dems: What's the "Phrase that Pays?"

Updated: Nov 24, 2019



I kept trying to find a better title for this last night while watching the Democratic debates but I seemed to be having the same problem the candidates are having.


I can't come up with the "magic" words Americans need to hear.


I feel like a semi-literate citizen who has just stumbled into the Emergency Room begging for help from a well-meaning but inexperienced intern or overworked, overwrought long timer who needs the clinical, "clip board" expressions they're trained to listen for and check off before they admit someone. Code words that could save my life--a whole world of words I don't know. A whole language that they speak, that keeps me from getting the help I desperately need.


They can see it in our eyes,how much we need their help, these earnest, energetic competitors. They know what dire straits we're in.


I truly believe all the candidates are sincerely yearning to reach out and touch somebody. To hit us where we truly live. But for some reason, they can't find that "Phrase that Pays."


They're nibbling around the edges of real life problems. Touching the fringes of situations that sound "something like" what a lot of us are going through.


But the feeling tone is off. It's as if they, themselves, aren't living in the worlds we live in. Or cannot see them for the acronyms, the "Politspeak," or...I don't know.


They've used to dealing with them...theoretically. As reams of paper. As theories...plans. They're used to finessing them...but not feeling them the way we do.


They're like that English teacher who reads a note from a student who didn't complete a homework assignment because her best friend committed suicide over the weekend...and grades the grammar and encourages her to consider joining the Creative Writing Co-Op.


Just...not quite...feelin' us yet.


Odd thing, too--you don't have to be "one of us" to get it. We've had a lotta rich white guys manage to say the magic words.


And then back it up, somehow, with action. Often as their political and societal peers looked on, aghast, at the traitor in their midst.


I don't know if our current crop of candidates have been politicians too long or, in some cases, not long enough. I have no answer for what I feel--what I don't feel, I mean.


There's just this odd disconnect. At a time when I've never been more afraid of what's happening to my country, I can't connect.


I channel surf through the debates. Switch to saved shows, or movies that also didn't hold my attention but are more interesting than anything the candidates are telling me for the umpteenth time.


I am not amused. I am not moved. I hear lots of clever--Rhodes scholars. Two. Wow.


Coupla zingers, too, this time--Booker chiding Biden for maybe being "high" when he talked about marijuana a few days ago. And Biden just...being Biden.


And then I decided to watch some very smiley people make all kinds of wild holiday cookies on one of those cooking shows that are so popular right now. I learned how to make a chocolate bird's nest and little confectioner's sugar coated chocolate eggs to go in it.


And then I went back to stare in wonderment at Tulsi Gabbard scaring me sideways again--there's something...not quite right about that one. We need to be careful about her...



I'm listening for that howl off in the distance somewhere--speak to me, somebody.


Show me that you know me...



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#politics #Democrats #debates #candidates #Election2020





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