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Words are a daily phenomenon. We use them by the second but we rarely give them a second thought. We usually underestimate their power. But those who can wield that power command the masses.

Words are the driving forces that push and pull senators, representatives, and constituents to either side of the political tug-of-war. Whether in our very own Arizona Legislature, in the U.S. Congress, or in our city councils, our elected officials, male and female, deal in words as a daily ritual.

Using them well means the difference between success and failure of the opposing parties.

In regards to being dealers of words, the responsible Republican elephants would do well to learn from their colleagues, the lucid Democratic donkeys, and vice versa.

Too often, today’s Republican elephants forget that everything surrounding their words communicates a message to the public — these peripheral messages are known to sociolinguists as “meta messages.” Many Republicans are easily caught in the media sounding like all-knowing superiors or as solely fiscal-minded members indifferent to social suffering. Democrats, on the other hand, seem to have “framing” down to an art.

Think of the rock-star popularity of President Barack Obama in the presidential elections — he, or at least his teleprompter, was excellent at framing the issue. Sounding heroic was much more important to the public than the heroic service of Senator McCain.

In state politics, Arizona Democrat Legislators seem like the saviors of schools and everything good because they wrap all their messages in a “we care about you” package.

What today’s Democratic Donkeys are going to soon end up butting their head up against is the reality that they are promising more than they can deliver.

They shirk the burden of fiscal responsibility and somehow think that if they ignore the rampant overspending and increasing debt, it will just fade away like a nightmarish picture on an etch-a-sketch. What they can learn from the Republicans is the ability to think and communicate long-term plans by taking responsibility for the mistakes created during one’s watch in office.

Think about the budget cesspool that Arizona is now in because, nearly two years ago, former Governor Janet Napolitano enacted an Arizona budget that overspent $28 million per day, despite the warning from her treasurer and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. Responsibility and long-term thinking and communication may have been helpful in this decision.

Decisions affecting the masses are made everyday in politics. How these decisions are communicated is how politicians earn their bread and butter, and determines if they will maintain their hierarchical status.

The transparency of modern politics has not only provided constituents with great opportunity to keep their representatives accountable, but has also made elected officials more vulnerable.

Now, more than ever, Republicans and Democrats have to be conscious of their communication.

Words are both the ammunition and negotiation medium for politicians. To improve their parties, what Republicans and Democrats can do is learn from the wisdom of Marcus Tullius Cicero, the Latin Orator of the Roman Senate and his mandate that all politicians must be virtuous men. For “if we were to hand over the command of language to those who are void of virtues, we would certainly not make orators, but we would be giving weapons to madmen.”

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