Hey, You! Speak to Me!

Hey, You! Speak to Me!

Spokesman, spokeswoman,

spokesperson, spokeswhatever. Does it ever bother you that you rarely hear from the “person” himself or herself anymore? I’m not talking about high level, president or governor and the like, people, either. The “spokes” disease has filtered down to the local level.

  It’s even expanded from spokes whatever to lawyertalker. That’s probably the ultimate voiceover protecting whomever, whichever, from inquiries, discussions, and often responsibility. In fact, one of my pet peeves is that lawyers appear to be running more and more political units and other institutions. I know that lawyers are needed sometimes in complicated public legal situations, but geeish. Can’t elected officials (or other officials, for that matter), make decisions on their own?.

  Most business people I know make their own decisions and consult lawyers as needed in specific situations. As I told my lawyer some years back, “I’m not going to clear decisions with you before I make them. I should know enough about my business to run it. I’ll call you to get me out of trouble.” He shared that my attitude didn’t give him a very good comfort level. Disclaimer:  I have lawyers who are good friends. Or, at least I think they are.

  But, I digress. Think about the public servants, from the president on down. They use every gimmick they can think of to get close to the voters. They shake hands, go door to door, attend every festival, every public event. They go to schools and ribbon cuttings, visit fire departments, volunteer organizations, hold town meetings, participate in debates. Neither rich nor poor are shielded from their personal touch. No.It’s see me, hear me, watch me, touch me, talk to me, share with me and me with you - until I get elected.

  Then, it is spokesperson this and that, lawyer this and that. I thought we elected specific people. I thought that lawyers only needed to speak for us when we’re in trouble. If you don’t know enough about a subject to explain it yourself, you shouldn’t be in that position. Digressing a bit more, I guess I should add “experts” to my list of “speakers for”. Everything requires an expert who remains an expert until something doesn’t turn out right. Then, the expert doesn’t become a non-expert. He, she or it (it could be a corporation) simply is forgotten. I would like to think that after a few years in office our guy is an expert.

  By the way, have some empathy for the spokeswhatever. That guy can’t say or write just anything. There has to be spin and it has to spin in (or maybe away from) the elected guy’s direction. If you watch the president’s press secretary, you can almost see him spin. School districts, county government. All the same. Say as little as possible in the most indefinite way possible. Don’t get too specific. Leave an escape door open somewhere. Makes you wonder sometimes whether the time (and money) spent parsing phrases and words, wouldn’t be better spent working on the problem.

  And, then some people wonder why voters, or potential voters, feel so separated from their governments. Go figure.