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One Woman's Opinion

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On “Talking Points”

by Mary Wakefield Buxton

Urbanna, Va.— Today’s topic of discussion is the trend known as “talking points.” This is a system that many Americans are using today instead of thinking through political issues for themselves. 

Talking points are delivered by “political operatives” from both parties from party headquarters in D.C. They contain “correct party opinion” on every issue so state and local “operatives” can pass them on through radio, TV, email, Facebook, Twitter, letters to the editor in local newspapers, telephone conversations, social contacts at home or office, and even across the back fence to a neighbor.

One can always identify “talking points” because the political operative recites what he is told to recite, regardless of whether his words are an appropriate response or not. The operative does not think, he just delivers party line. He’s not interested in what others think or experience. One might even notice the look of the zealot in his eyes because political operatives are true believers and march ever to the beat of the party drum. 

Talking points are reprehensible because they feast on ignorance and apathy of voters who do not educate themselves about complicated issues but simply pull the lever per instruction on Election Day. When too many voters vote according to party dictate, the nation is doomed. This is because there are multiple sides to every issue and voters need to carefully think how proposed legislation may grant too much one-sided favor for one group of Americans over another, or negatively affect economy and jobs.

Talking points are also disgracefully used to rouse negative passions and class hatred. For example, before every election the left starts churning hatred against “the rich” (who ought to be paying more than just 80 percent of the taxes), while the right obsesses to hard-working, tax-paying Americans on the growing numbers of citizens that live “on government dole.”

In my mind it’s evil to use human weakness—envy, sloth, greed, and anger—to manipulate people in order to win elections. Sorry to say there is no end in sight to this practice as there seems little ideals or honor in politics. The best defense to talking points is to bring the practice out in the open so voters can be aware they can be manipulated by local political operatives before every election.

I was first introduced to “talking points” in 1994 when I had a firsthand experience with the then occupants of the White House, Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The Sentinel called me one day to say I had received a call “from the White House.” Mrs. Clinton wanted to talk to me and she left her number for me to call her back.

Actually, Mrs. Clinton didn’t ask for me in person but any woman journalist at the Sentinel. I laughed. Why would the First Lady call a woman journalist in downtown Urbanna? I decided she must have had a special recipe she wanted to share with me?
I called the White House and asked to speak to Mrs. Clinton (trying hard not to laugh).

“Mrs. Clinton can’t come to the phone right now,” the lady said (more stifled laughter), “but she wants you to join her special army of women in the press corps that supports woman’s issues.”

Now, I had been a feminist in my day, what woman hasn’t, but over the years I had come to realize opportunities should be available to all people regardless of whatever differences in gender, race, religion, and ethnic background, so I gave up the sobriquet.

The lady further explained Mrs. Clinton wanted to send me her “talking points” each week from the White House so I could write about problems and how she thought they could be solved (I wonder . . . bigger government and more government spending?) in the local newspaper.

Just think, your humble scribe could have become one of Mrs. Clinton’s special army of women writers! I didn’t know then that she would one day be a candidate for president, but I could certainly see how powerful a woman might be running for national office if she had an array of women writers at her command operating in every newspaper across the country.

I declined. Not my style.

What? What? The mighty crust of rugged individualism strikes again? Oh, yes, faithful readers, be assured Americans can still think for themselves and even express their own thoughts rather than rely on some political activist to parrot some wretched party line.

That was my first and last experience with any White House political operatives and talking points. Readers may not always agree with my ideas, but they can be assured my writing is never a regurgitation of anyone’s talking points. 

Viva la independence! Let there be a mighty reawakening across this great nation of individual thinking in lieu of just another recitation of talking points.


posted 04.23.2014

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