Michaels: Kelowna’s election buzzwords leached of meaning

Politicians are geniuses for trotting out meaning-laden words and repurposing them into cringe-worthy dreck.

Politicians are geniuses for trotting out meaning-laden words and repurposing them into cringe-worthy dreck.

Here are five vocabulary choices that once had weight, but after the last few years of non-stop elections, should be banned from the dictionary of buzzwords: Sustainability, accountability, change, vision and transparency.

They’re pleasant enough on the surface. After all, I can’t imagine wanting to live in a disposable community where nobody is held responsible for their inaction during back-room dealings.

But, then again, that’s the problem isn’t it?

Saying you want a “sustainable community”—which every mayoral candidate did at the Urban Development Institute’s forum—is a bit like running for Miss Universe, and saying you want world peace.


Thanks to beauty pageants, or whatever they’re called now, world peace is largely a laughable concept that only dimwits trot out during attempts to convey depth.

If a student were to go to their academic counsellor and say; “you know what I want to do with my life? I want to create world peace,” they’d be ushered out of the room and handed a trades brochure.

Same treatment should be provided to the next vision enhanced politician, who doesn’t advocate for general lying.

You are transparent? Ba ha ha.

You have vision? Stop it, you’re killing me.

You advocate for sustainable A, B, or C? I’m literally dying of laughter.  OK, now get out. Seriously, please leave the podium and head for the emergency exit.

It’s not really a politician’s fault, I suppose. They’re using the sharpest tool in their arsenal—language.

It’s powerful enough to change the way others see world without actually redesigning anything in the physical realm. Good morphs into bad and bad starts to look good, then back again with little ado.

It’s what makes these elections, and the campaigns that lead into them, so confounding.

A whole lot of bafflegab obscures what these candidates really stand for let alone what they are able and qualified to do.

It makes it all the more important for constituents to start doing their homework, sifting through the verbal garbage and actually finding out whether the buzzword suits the mouth it’s spewing from.

It’s the only sustainable way forward as we work together to attain our shared vision of world peace.

Kathy Michaels is a reporter for the Capital News.




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