Dog Whistle Politics

POL-Elephant%202-2TDog-whistle politics is a term that describes statements made by political candidates and people in elected positions phrased in ways intended to galvanize support from like-mined voters. At the same time such political revenuers try to avoid repulsing voters who are on the fence. “Family values” might be an example of a dog-whistle. Lately a less subtle form of political speech has entered the arena. It reminds me of a historic National Lampoon magazine cover from the 1970s showing a frightened dog with a gun pointed to its head. Of course, that was satire, but today’s GOP’s message is often as overt and offensive. For other examples of dog-whistle politics see anything on The Daily Discord.


These dog-whistle politics are used effectively by republicans to help the poor consistently vote against their own interests. Dog- whistle also implies one message for the general population but a 2nd encoded message for a targeted subgroup. The National Lampoon example relays the not-so subtle message: “If you don’t buy this magazine, we’ll kill this dog!” I consider this type of political speech, if nothing else (and for lack of a better term), honestly crazy. One must consider how close to honestly crazy republicans are becoming.

Matt Drudge uses dog-whistle every day on The Drudge Report. He blows his whistle for each headline. For many he is simply relaying the days news items, but there’s often an underlying message to the base. Immigrants = bad, Hillary = untrustworthy. He also keeps putting single quotes around the words ‘climate change’ and will link to any and all data points that keep the issue grey and muddled. He knows the way his subgroup thinks and he knows what headlines will help rally the base. Drudge will link to the wrongdoing of each and every immigrant or illegal to paint a picture of lawlessness. Never mind the fact immigrants commit less overall crimes. He’s painting a picture. Drudge will no doubt do the same with Syrian refugees—well, with the four we let in.

Some sitting governors, as well as candidates aspiring to become U.S. President are trumpeting the notion that refugees of a certain religious bent are not welcome in our country. This profoundly piercing, spittle-laden blather has intensified in the aftermath of the recent Paris tragedy. Bizarrely, it is championed by politicians who otherwise purport to celebrate the absolute perfection of the Constitution.

In all honesty, there can be no greater threat to our country’s Constitutional heritage than to apply a cowardly religious test to refugees who are drawn to, ironically, France’s gift of the Statue of Liberty, and to her earnest supplication, “…Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” Such a religious test should be regarded as enormously repulsive, even by a dog. Excuse my French, but La lumière de la Dame ne devrait jamais farcir la tête avec des idées stupides.
c’est la vie!

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