Wasted words give pause to presidential hopefuls
That word can mean a number of different things. It can be used as a verb, noun or adjective to describe idiocy, frivolity, erosion and death. Talk about a great word.
Let’s say you wasted $3.75 on Starbucks coffee this morning because you got wasted last night after wasting an opportunity to hookup with a wasting away girl who looked like Roger Daltrey while singing Teenage Wasteland out of tune on a wastefully decrepit karaoke machine. And then Jimmy Buffet, who was wasted away down in Margaritaville, consoled you by explaining the nuances of The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot, as you watched waves waste away layers of rock, before you vomited acidic waste into a wastebasket filled to the brim with other wasted people’s waste. Get my point? The word wasted is pure magic.
That old chap Oxford, though, defines wasted as: to consume, spend, or employ uselessly or without adequate return: to use to no avail or profit.
As brilliant as the word is, wasted is also a fully loaded, card-carrying radical of the lexicon that should be used with a great deal of caution – especially if you’re running for president and talking about soldiers who have lost their lives in Iraq.
Both Sen. Barack Obama (D- I.L.) and Sen. John McCain (R –A.Z.), while essentially announcing their candidacy for the highest office in the nation, hit unexpected speed bumps because of the perilous word. And neither appeared to be wasted when they uttered the word wastefully in a waste-like context.
Obama’s gaffe came during his first press conference as a presidential candidate, telling the audience in Ames, I.A., “We now have spent $400 billion and have seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young men wasted.”
McCain’s hiccup came in an interview with David Letterman on Feb. 28, when he told the zany host, “Americans are very frustrated, and they have every right to be. We’ve wasted a lot of our most precious treasure, which is American lives.”
Obama immediately said using the word wasted was a slip of the tongue and his intention was to merely criticize the civilian leadership of the war. McCain, who was just as prompt to issue an apology, said, “I should have used the word ‘sacrificed’ as I have in the past.”
Although I sympathize immensely with military families that have lost love one’s in Iraq and Afghanistan, I’m also damn sick of the trifling of the American political system. Yes, the soldiers deserve the utmost respect for trying to bring hope to a hopeless land, while being led by the Three Stooges. But this is merely semantic quibbling that is used to divert the attention of a generally wasted electorate filled with short attention spans.
Anyone with brain cells equivalent to a two-day-old turd should be able to discern that McCain and Obama were not belittling the ultimate sacrifice made by the 3,164 troops (as of this writing) that have died. McCain has been pro-this-war from the start. And if there’s anyone who knows a thing or two about the hardships that come with being a soldier or a prisoner of war, it’s him. And Obama is as eloquent of a public orator this nation has seen since Robert Kennedy; so to think he intentionally wanted to depreciate the lives of the fallen in his first speech, as a candidate in an election that will be determined by the outcome of the Iraq War, is nonsensical. Doesn’t add up.
However, this is what the process has become. We’re still about a year out from the first presidential primary in Iowa and the major candidates are crisscrossing the country, dry humping every country club in sight. And the press follows like obedient lap dogs, waiting anxiously for these candidates to stumble or make an off the cuff/off the record innuendo that can be turned into a headline. It has become yellow journalism’s wet dream: Pamela Anderson lathered in oily butter for Rupert Murdoch’s newsgathering hierarchy.
Forgive me for asking, but does anybody care if these candidates know how the nation can extricate itself from the completely fucked up situation abroad? Because if they do – no matter their name, past or party affiliation –I want them representing our country.
However, we are wasting the time of voters, the time of candidates, and the time of derelict columnists that write articles based solely around one word, when we trivialize the election process to its current state.
M.W. Fritz is a freelance journalist based out of Washington D.C. Every issue, he provides the SiDEKiCK with an exclusive political commentary from our nation’s capital, bringing all the respectability and professionalism of this paper (not much) to a completely subjective and often ridiculous analysis of our governing body. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.