Language is social – It is the tool that conveys traditions and values related to group identity, a means of expressing our thoughts, feelings and intentions to those we are talking to. Used respectfully it enriches and enables, used negatively it can demean and even demonize both individuals and social groups.‘Transliteration’ is a particular form used to emphasise something important that a writer or speaker would like to express. It can be framed to be inclusive, i.e. encompassing divergent views or groups, or be divisive, promoting disagreement or open hostility. It requires a certain skill. President Trump is no orator and is limited to hyperbole, devoid of diplomacy and nuance, using the basic principles of repetition, simplistic ideas and short phrases known to appeal to voters’ emotions, rather than their intellects. This approach encourages the listener’s imagination, transporting them to a scenario in tune with their beliefs, when this is fear based, deep seated emotions are ignited. Energy is magnified by the numbers present, political rallies providing the perfect environment to whip up passions, creating a perfect storm.
A master of generalisation, Donald Trump’s incomprehensible contradictory rambling speeches are marked by boasting, verbosity and tortured syntax. He is unable to sustain the occasional verbal clarity, even assisted by a teleprompter, due to his inherent impulsiveness and grandiosity and an inability to convey straightforward communication. His reality, unencumbered by a need for truth is at odds with verifiable facts. Among his more memorable pearls of wisdom he has branded Mexican immigrants as “rapists, criminals and drug runners” and described himself as “ a very stable genius”.
President Trumps inflammatory tweets continue unabated.. He has encouraged violence towards protesters at his rallies offering to pay legal fees for anyone charged with assault and encouraged police to rough up suspects. While attending a recent rally the President applauded the assault on reporter Ben Jacobs by Congressman Greg Gianforte who was later charged. Trumps comments “any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of guy” bringing predictable cheers and chants from his exuberant audience.
At a time of unprecedented violence involving hate crimes, including the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Turkey and the US Synagogue massacre in which 11 people died, President Trump’s words: “We have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America” have a hollow ring. As the Saudi elite concede that the death of Jamal Khashoggi was ‘premeditated murder’ by a hit squad, Donald Trump prevaricates, considering the words which will be required to justify retaining the Saudi weapons contract. Meanwhile the widow of Jamal Khashogggi has declined an invitation to the White House while pleading for help in the return of his body.
THE INTEGRITY OF LANGUAGE IN POLITICS
The capacity of speech attached to reason makes us unique among creatures. It was perhaps the final despair of the American people in realising that many politicians seem incapable of acknowledging the truth, which birthed the Trump era. Some mistook brashness for honesty, in the vain hope that business savvy might restore their jobs and their houses. The bullying, loutish behaviour which was never hidden was preferable to the lies and slick sophistication on offer as an alternative.. Donald Trump has done what few politicians do, he has delivered exactly what he promised, leaving not only America but the world to wonder.