Republicans and their political conservative allies in the media have an interesting relationship with words, don’t you think? It’s as though every week they learn to say a new word without learning what the word actually means.
For instance, when the Democrats introduced a bill insisting that the US should see some tangible strategic progress from the use of American tax-dollars in Iraq—the Republicans called it “micromanaging the war”.
There’s nothing in the Democrats’ bill about firing generals because they want realistic numbers of troops, or appointing an ambassador to personally write Iraqi traffic laws, or requiring troops to keep painting schools that kids can’t attend for fear of being kidnapped or killed, or any demands that interviews with soldiers be scripted and rehearsed. That sort of thing would strike me as micromanagement.
What about the phrase “Global War on Terror?”
Terror is an emotion, global means the whole world, war is an armed conflict; but the US military is engaged in armed conflict in just two relatively nearby countries (comprising 1/148th of the global landmass an 1/500th of the world’s surface area) against forces that might number 30,000. The GWOT then is hardly a “global war” and it certainly isn’t combating terror, let alone terrorism (which, being a tactic, is a hard thing to have a war with too). It should come as no surprise then that if the description of the policy makes no sense, neither should the policy itself.
What about “accepting full responsibility”? Saying these words is apparently all that’s required to absolve a Republican of any moral, professional or legal transgression large or small, even after weeks of adamant claims of innocence, denials of self-incriminating evidence and false counter-accusations of their critics. For some reason responsibility means something quite different to ordinary citizens.
Of course the constant distortion and outright misuse of words by Republicans and their conservative supporters may be mistaken, but it is no “mistake”.
It is a strategy long employed by GOP staff specifically devoted to crafting and testing new uses for words and phrases that will help sell policy as product, where the packaging is paramount, regardless of the products’ merits or flaws and the ‘pitch’ is then distributed with instructions to the salespeople who sell the package without consideration of the contents.
It’s not that they promote the good and minimize the bad of the product they are selling, they simply totally misrepresent their “product”: The “Clean Air Act” was NOT designed to produce cleaner air.
Invading Iraq and killing Saddam Hussein was supposed to eliminate the supposedly global threat he posed—yet having accomplished that leaving Iraq would pose a greater global threat? Duke Cunningham and Jack Abramoff were completely innocent until they weren’t just proven guilty but admitted their guilt. In literally every aspect of policy and action the Republicans have lied about their motives, their actions and have even lied about their lies.
And whenever they are caught, they claim ignorance, memory loss and inadvertent illiteracy.
In any other job or circumstance these Republican pundits and politicians would be fired, imprisoned, remitted to counseling and professional care or locked-up as being criminally negligent or insane or for being a danger to themselves and to the public at the least for not knowing the difference between right and wrong or being able to distinguish reality from fantasy.
But instead they are allowed to lie, to shoot their mouths off and leave the consequences of their actions behind for everyone else. They lie about their motivations; they shoot their opponents and then leave without concomitant consequences.
And they do all this with words they don’t understand and refuse to understand. As the saying goes " a little learning is a dangerous thing"; Republicans and their conservative compatriots almost without exception clearly have very little learning, and as the rest of us have learned. it has proven and continues to be, a very dangerous thing.