Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Words, They Have Meanings

I am disturbed by people who apparently think that if the meaning of a word upsets them or paints them in a less than flattering light, they can just change the meanings of words. It upsets me because the only way we have to communicate with each other is through words* and if we allow people to remove all meaning from words, we're left with beaver shoe crying although hi run.

There is no shortage of exaggeration and hyperbole in politics. Republicans will routinely point out that Democrats are wrong, but only Democrats make these kind of rhetorical leaps:
  • Skepticism over global warming is evidence that Republicans are anti-science

Well, if one spends one's time denying and smearing science in order to protect one's profits, what exactly does that make one?
  • Removing collective bargaining rights for public workers means Republicans are anti-union
What else would you call removing collective bargaining rights? Unions, by definition, involve collective bargaining.
  • Cutting funding for the Department of Education means Republicans areagainst improving schools
Okay, that's fair. Simply cutting the Dept of Ed's budget does not make one against improving schools, unless one also does not have a plan for improving schools . . . oh, well then.
  • Passing tax cuts for everyone who pays taxes means Republicans only cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires
Refusing to pass legislation that only benefits poor people until a tax cut for people inheriting millions is tacked on, well, what would you call that?
  • Cutting funding for the Environmental Protection Agency means Republicans are against clean water
They have no other plan to ensure clean water, so what am I to make of that?
  • Ending unemployment benefit extensions means Republicans don’t protect the poor and want people to lose their homes
  • Cutting subsidies to Planned Parenthood means Republicans are trying to ban birth control and abortion
"Ban"? In this context, no, they're just making it impossible for poor women to get birth control and abortions. It's not actually banning per se, but it's the next best thing. Effectively, for the poor women involved, it's the same thing.
  • Improving our border security and enforcing immigration laws means that Republicans hate minorities
Um, if passing racist legislation in Arizona were "improving border security and enforcing immigration laws", I'd agree with you, but words, they have meaning.
  • Cutting subsidies for school lunch programs means Republicans want children to go to sleep hungry at night
Well, if they're not eating at lunch, and they're not eating at home . . . Honestly, I knew people who deliberately failed classes during the regular school year to ensure that they had to go to summer school. They didn't like going to school year round, they liked eating year round.
  • Failing to legislate levels of CO2, a greenhouse gas that we all exhale, means Republicans are anti-environment
Or stupid. Take your pick.
  • Opposing teachers unions means that Republicans are against teachers
Paying off their loans and eating on a regular basis, that is.

I thought progressives were supposed to be more nuanced…

I've never claimed to be "more" nuanced . . .

*I suspect someone may say "Sign language, I win, you're wrong!", but that's still words. It's just words communicated via fingers instead of lips and tongues.


  1. Actually, I could list (among others) pictures & photography, miming and smoke signals as methods that can be used to communicate feelings and ideas, albeit on a more simple level.

  2. Sorry for being more in-tune with my species’s communicative variety. :P

  3. but they call birth control "abortion". they're "exagerations" and melodrama are actually WORSE than the Dems. mostly, the Dems just do enough to try and keep the damn playing field level.


  4. Interesting how you start off by saying that words mean things, and then you proceed to defend these mental leaps that demonstrate words mean nothing to those on the left.

    The point the author is making (which should be obvious) is that, for example, opposing unemployment extensions does not equal hatred of the poor. And your response is "If the shoe fits..."? Words do mean things, except for people who disagree with you, apparently.


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