So you’re aware there’s a type of whistle only dogs can hear? If you aren’t this is called a dog whistle. When blown its pitch and frequency is so high that it can’t be heard by humans, only dogs seem to respond to its call. This is indeed really cool, unless you blow it in front of unfriendly dogs. However, this piece is about the political meaning behind the dog whistle. Most of us thought it had just the visible meaning, but here comes the political.
Dog whistle- Its political meaning
Do not look at this pretty dog, however look at the message behind its picture. One ear is up, meaning he’s listening to something which a human may not have the capacity to hear. This is what dog whistling is about, the conveying of hidden messages to specific groups. This term was used politically as far back as the early 1940’s. In clear terms, the political meaning of the dog whistle is in an attempt to highlight or expose a political candidate/aspirant’s hidden motive or agenda. It balls down to the dishonesty and segregational claims of such a person for selfish or usually racist reasons. It is a political form of messaging in which its user employs a language which is multi-faceted. This message, at a glance could mean one thing to every person in attendance, the general public more like, but when deeply analyzed, has a different, darker meaning to it, aimed for the sole comprehension of certain groups.
Over the years the term dog whistle has been politically used to describe the intentions of presidential aspirants and their respective campaigns. George W. Bush has been accused of dog whistling in more than one occasion. This accusation was made in 2004, during his re-election bid when he had been discussing a historic decision made by the Supreme Court which was overturned. The average citizen and registered voter picked up no trail of condescension to his remark, but certain groups, particularly the Christian conservatives viewed Bush’s remark as demeaning to their motives. This is because they felt Bush hinted he was ready to nominate a judge who would overthrow Roe V. Wade. At a glance, one wouldn’t have picked up any trail of his true intent for the remark, but this is why it was aimed for another group.
Now, traces of dog whistling have also been found in the likes of Donald Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign, and a host of other people in power all around the world. It goes without saying that this method of conveying hidden messages to a populous group has been in existence well over time and sadly, it’s getting more popular by the day.