15 May, 2006

Legal Jargon

While I was perusing the Constitution, I found this acutely confusing clause, under Amendment 20, Section 4:
If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.
My question is, why in the world do they need all that jargon? What I got out of it was this: If the president dies, the vice-president takes over. If a president hasn't been chosen before his term was supposed to start, the vice-president takes his place. If the vice-president hasn't been elected either, Congress appoints someone to take the place until a president or a vice-president has been chosen. Why can't they just say that, for crying out loud?!

Of course, like everything, jargon has it's advantages. Lawyers can spout off jargon so fast you have no idea what they're saying, and then they can take your money. It's the same way with computers, or anything else. If my friends and I are saying things like "hard drive," "RAM," and "3.4 gigahertz Core Duo with supercooling," people have absolutely no idea what we're saying (It's kinda fun!).

If you're trying to make a point about, say, electronics, don't talk about the transistors, resistors, capacitors, and all that stuff. Relate electricity to normal things, like watermelon.
This B.C. comic illustrates my point perfectly.

Use jargon if you're an evil, conniving, demonic fart from outer-space; but if you're a kind, benevolent, caring, loving human being, you'll use human terms.


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