With all of the concern about hurricane Matthew, our TV channels were full of news conferences that had a signer for the deaf standing beside a politician at a lectern. Anytime you switched to a channel and saw a signer, you knew the speaker was a mayor, a governor, or a trusted bureaucrat representing them.
I did watch the signers closely, hoping to catch a fake just waving their hands in the air, like the one who once stood beside President Obama.
No wonder the politicians love signers. They add gravitas to the politician’s message while demonstrating the politician’s sensitivity to physical challenges of the voters, all at a small cost to the taxpayers.
But what does it really mean? Wouldn’t any deaf viewer have closed captioning on their TV? Would anyone deaf be in the room of the news conference? What media outlet would send a deaf reporter to cover a news conference?
The message was always obvious, anyway. “Oh, a storm is coming. Who knew? Get to higher ground. Never thought of that.”
It’s all theater, and politicians love it. I kid you not.