I pity English students these days. I pity them very much. Or, I should not have pity for them. Who sent them to study something like syntax in first place. Or semantics. By Jupiter, space scientists like Stephen Hawkings, briefest astronomer in universe, would damn it. But I pity lexicographers more. They, like grammar students are doomed to same fate. Like Achilles who was destined to die in battle. May grammarians not perish by their heels.
Because they are helping us to understand meanings of words and how to use them. Like "mental mistake" (which mistake is not mental anyway?) And "peel-and-eat-shrimp" (so that we do not peel shrimps and throw them on floor). They should be in our mouths. The world of unlettered men are eternally grateful to grammarians. For we would have starved to death. T.R. Malthus forgot to mention how they would influence world's demography in his theory of population by remembering us to eat. Poor visioner. And thumbs up for grammarians!
Because they are now going to help us understand U.S election. They will tell us that George Bush Jr. is Republican candidate for November election. They will tell us that John Kerry, no, Bob Kerry sounds better. They will tell us that Bob Kerry is flag bearer for Democrats. But since he will not be carrying a physical flag, let's call him Democratic presidential hopeful. I like last word. Especially when pronounced with a stress in last syllable and accompanied by a look toward golden gates of heaven. Like a saint homeward bound. I like word because it takes oration of Demosthenes, wisdom of Solomon, insight of Hecate, and hand of Maradonna, sorry, ‘hand of God,' to remove an incumbent.
But what is electability? That is not an easy question. It is like asking: What is ‘weapon of mass destruction?' Or what is ‘undisclosed secret location?' The lexicographers haven't added those to dictionary yet. But just in case you can't wait, I will give you references. For ‘weapon of mass destruction,' ask George Bush. For ‘undisclosed secret location,' find out from vee pee, Dick Cheney. (Or has he been fired?) We will also hear political statements like these: "I stand on ground and say that I will not raise taxes" (as if he was suspended 1,000 feet in air or 1,000 fathoms beneath Atlantic Ocean). "The greatest challenge facing world in this century is terrorism" (that means it is not a problem, only a challenge). "If elected, I will wipe out reverse discrimination in America" (which discrimination is inverse?)
Now, what is this new comer, electability? They say that electability means those sterling leadership qualities which endears candidate to electorate making it possible for him to win an election. So, Bush is a candidate. And Kerry is one too. But electability (hence E) is not a contestant. E is leadership quality; so E is beautiful bride that Bush and Kerry badly need.
But beautiful brides are so elusive and it can also be dangerous to marry one. It used to be practice many years ago in one continent for strongest men to marry beautiful brides. No brains were needed then, just physical power. Suitors therefore wrestled with one another, climbed baobab trees and swarm across crocodile and hippopotamus-infested rivers because they wanted to marry wives. Only one suitor—the strongest man—won bride in end.
In one of such contests, a dozen suitors were asked to break strongest iroko wood with an ax in front of beautiful bride, her parents and an immense crowd. The suitors sweated and bleed for seven days. Six of men gave up. But one—the most muscular and much enduring of them all—finally broke log. And just in that instant a male and female boa came out of wood, chased everybody away and returned to split wood which gently closed snakes inside and sealed itself again. The mysterious story was told to many unborn generations. That ended physical fitness requirement for marriage. Because men are men and women are women. The E word does not matter. The strong man, however, married beautiful bride. And boa snake became god of people.
But back to U.S election. Who is a better candidate? Bush or Kerry? Who stands a better chance of being elected?
Election is an uncertain business. Like breaking a wooden trunk inhabited by snakes. Forget polls. Things may go wrong. Back in days, when men knew nothing about sphericity of earth, U.S. cartographers dreaded sailing oceans. So they would point their fingers across seas and say to one another: "There be monsters!" The sailors meant that anything goes in high seas. They may even have thought that literal monsters and their fellow dragons were performing what Gogol delights doing on land: rampaging oceans. And heart-in-the-mouth sailors couldn't play Odysseus, who successfully sailed devil-may-care whirlpool of Scylla and Charybdis by clinging tenaciously on a floating piece of wood. All hail aged Greek hero! (Who says it didn't happen?) So it is in an election: A risky adventure.