Monday, September 23, 2013

Does Anybody Know What Time It Is?

To every thing there is a season,
   and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and time to die;
   a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted;
A time to kill, and time to heal;
   a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
   a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
   a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose:
   a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend and a time to sew;
   a time to keep silence and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
   a time of war, and a time of peace.
It must be rough being a Dunwoody politician or candidate these days what with being lambasted for "quiet periods" and berated for the legal fallout from "executive session leaks". How is an ordinary politician to know when to prattle on and on and when to have nice cup of STFU?

Some claim it is very simple. If you speak bullshit as the average politician is wont to do when addressing a group of potential voters or find yourself lobbying for a pet project then feel free to blow a mighty wind. On the other hand if you are about to be actual-factual about a matter in the works but yet to have properly lined the appropriate pockets then put a cork in it. This rather cynical view boils down to simple do's and don'ts for politicians to follow. If you know what you are about to say is a lie or at the very least misleading then by all means blather on. And on. If you know for certain that what you are about to say is true you should immediately excuse yourself. No questions asked and certainly none answered. If the truth of the matter is uncertain one must first attempt to verify the truth and should that be inconclusive err on the side of silence.

For those in the real world this is all very baffling--particularly the executive session kerfuffle. If you work for a publicly traded company you probably get the quarterly "quiet period" email directing you to remain silent about any knowledge you may have regarding the company prospects as quarterly reporting is imminent. If you're an executive or know an executive then you are aware that some information is simply not to be discussed with anyone. Not friends. Not close associates. Not spouses. Not even your dog.

The single largest inflection point in the modern America's discourse between politicians and the electorate is election day and upon that day begins the great and dramatic distancing of the elected politicians' actions and almost all of their previous statements. Is there any remaining member of the voting public that really believes to be honest and true anything emanating from a politician's mouth? The only remaining mystery is why some protest that the politicians are not speaking often or long enough. Baffling.

Perhaps Alison Krauss has it right when it comes to politicians: "you say it best when you say nothing at all."