The GOP spin blog makes up stuff to declare that State Representative Paula Hawks is not ready to take on Congresswoman Kristi Noem. Ha! Sean McPherson, Republican candidate for District 32 House, isn’t ready to take on Freshman Comp.
Let’s review McPherson’s exercise in faux-conservative sloganeering:
As I read through the book, Essential Liberty, I marvel at the leadership of our Founding Fathers [Sean McPherson, “Wanted: Principled Leadership Fueled by Vision,” campaign website, 2015.11.17].
First, grammar. The commas around the title suggest that there is only one book in McPherson’s world. The commas are incorrect. Essential Liberty here is an appositive phrase. In this sentence, the author has to include the appositive phrase so we know which book he’s talking about. Thus, there should be no commas.
I’m not sure which Essential Liberty McPherson is reading, but if it’s Rob Olive’s Essential Liberty, McPherson is taking his cues on the Founding Fathers from a modern prepper-fantasy novel about the ATF coming after our guns. Maybe McPherson is just reading this online screed from some dudes fantasizing that they are refighting the Revolution. Good grief—can no conservatives live in the 21st century?
Interestingly enough from both sides of the table they worked together. No, they didn’t always agree, they certainly had their differences of opinion and even strategy. But alas, they worked together [McPherson, 2015.11.17].
The second sentence is a run-on. The third begins with two conjunctions, which is a subtle foul. One conjunction is sufficient to connect any two sentences. Alas isn’t even appropriate here, since it suggests disappointment that the Founders worked together.
McPherson dances through some oratorical karaoke toward nonsense:
Freedom has matriculated and evolved into entitlement. This is dangerous as it leads us back in the direction of a monarchy [McPherson, 2015.11.17].
Matriculate means enroll, as in, “Bobby just graduated from high school; he’s matriculating to SDSU this fall.” I can’t translate freedom has enrolled in any meaningful way. Freedom’s evolution into a sense of entitlement sounds familiar for those of us who spend time deconstructing Republican propaganda, but off hand, I can’t think of a historical example of a monarchy rising from the ashes of an entitlement-minded democracy. If McPherson can think of such examples, he doesn’t pause to offer them in his essay. He’s in too much of a hurry to lip-synch to the Founders:
Hamilton once wrote, “A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one!” Franklin echoed that with, “They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” And Samuel Adams challenged with this, “Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say, ‘what should be the reward of such sacrifices?’…if ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen” [McPherson, 2015.11.17].
If McPherson means to connect these high words from our past to specific problems of the present, he forgets to do so. Permit me to help on that front:
- Preferring disgrace to danger: that sounds like our Republican Congressional delegation and some of the Republicans McPherson wants to join in Pierre rejecting American ideals and Syrian refugees for fear of terrorism (plus a bonus desire to play partisan games with the budget).
- Trading liberty for safety: J. Edgar Hoover? Marco Rubio? School lockdown drills?
- Loving wealth better than liberty: Could that be connected to Donald Trump‘s status as the GOP’s white-hot white-hate candidate?
But I’m working harder than McPherson. He just keeps humming along:
Amazing is the progress and leadership when not mired in the mud and muck of political correctness [McPherson, 2015.11.17].
We got some alliteration going, and that’s always exciting. But McPherson posits two amazing things, so his verb should be plural, are. McPherson does not make clear who or what is mired in the mud and muck. And political correctness comes out of nowhere and goes nowhere just as quickly—no definition or example, no development of the idea, just a Pavlovian bell to make his followers slobber.
We need leaders with vision! We need leaders willing to put their fame and fortune on the line for the advancement of that vision. We need… “We the people of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect union…” Kind of leadership! [McPherson, 2015.11.17].
What? We need famous rich people to run for office? So McPherson is a Trump guy!
McPherson can’t lead us to a clear point, let alone lead us to a vision of practical leadership. He’s just stringing together platitudes to say, “Vote for me! I sound like Thomas Jefferson!”
English teachers expect more than that. Voters should, too. Faced with a teacher shortage, rampant corruption, and a stagnant economy (hmm… could those three problems be related?), South Dakota needs more than slogan salad. South Dakota needs legislators who can enunciate a clear, practical vision for solving real problems.