A Fils for Your Thoughts

November 7, 2008

The Promise of Change

Filed under: Politics — Haider @ 6:28 pm

Whenever I see the word “change” being used in a political campaign, I remember an incident my brother-in-law told me about:

He was once in a social gathering (i.e. a deewaniya) here in Kuwait, when a man running in a local election came in and was encouraging the attendees to vote for him. My brother-in-law recognized the man, and so he asked him: “In your campaign slogan, you say that you are working for change. What do you mean by that?”

The man replied: “Change is what people want.”

In other words, “change” is a buzz-word people want to hear, and this man doesn’t even know what it means, but used it anyway to win votes!

The odd thing is, even those who are mesmerized by the word “change” don’t know what it means! All they can associate with the word is relief from their existing problems.

However, change isn’t necessarily a good thing. It all depends on the direction this “change” will take us in.

I think, by now, you know why I’m making this point: many of Barack Obama’s supporters were mesmerized by his slogan: “Change We Can Believe In” (and other slogan variations, which were centered on the “change” theme) without really knowing what he means by this word, or what sort of policies he advocates.

Words such as: change, hope and justice are totally meaningless in political discourse because they could mean anything. The speaker means one thing (if he knows what it means in the first place, unlike our local politician I mentioned earlier) and the listeners understand it the way they want, and assume that this is what the speaker meant.

I don’t deny that Obama will bring about change, but I’m not too sure his supporters will be happy with the change he brings.

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