Skip to content

More Cursing From Elected Officials Than Ever Before

August 18, 2019

When it comes to cursing in the public square I come from a very different point of view from many who now toss about any word that comes to mind.  Granted, I was growing up 50 years ago when social norms were different.  Radio did not have crude shock jocks, cable television was not yet an infant, and there were still some rules of the road for what passed as public communication.

I can recall mom hearing an elected official use either the word “damn’ or “hell” and commenting that it was not appropriate, as those placed into office should have a higher sense of self-respect.  I also recall telling her that it was not a big deal.

Given the latest news regarding this topic as reported in The Hill mom might remind me that once a rock starts rolling downhill it gains speed.

Profanity — once considered a major no-no among those seeking public office — is no longer an earth-shattering political snafu. And according to new research, this year could be on track to see members of Congress swearing up a storm more than ever before.

In analysis conducted exclusively for ITK, GovPredict, a government relations software company, found that the frequency of lawmakers using words that might make one’s grandmother blush has increased steadily since 2014.

I have commented before on the use of cursing in our culture, and have always reached back to years of childhood when radio was a constant source of news and entertainment in our home.  The respect announcers showed for their audiences has never left me.  That decorum, that professional touch, that mature quality is not only how I presented myself in work environments, but also in my personal life.

Coming from a broadcasting background where words matter, and working in a legislator’s office where conduct was always viewed or heard by someone, means perhaps I see this issue as more prescribed than others in society.  But it really should not be so.  We all should care about the use of language by elected officials.

I contend it should not be hard to conduct ourselves in society with word choices given the entire dictionary one might use to make a point.   Every day people use words wisely, and so I have to laugh when I sometimes hear that someone is ‘unable to speak freely’ as there are too many rules about needing to use politically-correct speech.  That is just a cop-out for acting with civility in modern-day society.

Words have weight, and if we are to live in a society where the hope of coming together is to exist at all, we need to be aware of the impact of the words we use.  I use to speak before groups of constituents when working in the state assembly and was always aware of the audience I was in front of to push the right message by using the right words.  I used words hours at a time when working in radio and never felt the need to resort to ones that were laced with vulgarity.

The use of words is key to everything we do.  Being an adult is knowing how to employ the best use of words.  It also means understanding the power our words carry for both good and bad.

I very much question those who wish to have a leadership role in the nation when their word choice includes trash talk, cursing, and vulgarities.  It shows a lack of respect for an audience, and a country they wish to influence.

Give me Paul Harvey from the radio world, who would wear a shirt and tie for a broadcast, as it was a sign of respect for the audience he wanted to spend some time with over the airwaves.  That is the world I grew up in, and strive to maintain in the small ways I can.

And so it goes.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: