Let’s Insist On Taking Ownership of Language
“Others have said” and “I have heard,” along with Trump’s favorite “some are saying” are not only meaningless, they distort serious conversation. Which others? You heard from whom? Who are the some? Name them. That’s what I call ownership. Then we can sit down to have a conversation.
This is not being politically correct, it’s innuendo
The definition of which is an indirect and usually malicious implication, which fits politi-speak like a well-built model’s bikini. When a politician loses an election, he or she is expected to congratulate their opponent and offer their support, not hold a press-conference to declare nearly everybody knows this election was stolen. And then keep at it for two months afterward.
Some say bipartisanism is over in Congress
True enough, but at least we damned well know who the some are in this case.
Pew Research: Just 21% of Americans say relations between Republicans and Democrats will get better in the coming year. Far more (37%) expect relations to worsen, while 41% say they will stay about the same.
That’s not very encouraging, but it puts numbers to who thinks what—and the numbers were not pulled out of a hat or, worse yet, someone’s ass.
We are an equal-opportunity Congress—both sides do it
While the origins of political correctness are likely more liberal than conservative, it’s caught-on and is widely used in public utterances, as George Carlin illustrates here. I'm rather partial to George and you'll see more of him before we're done. Conservatives, on the other hand, particularly those of a southern bent, are still likely in the comfort of their own living rooms to call blacks the N-word, along with poor whites being trash and gays faggots. Sorry about that folks, but they learned it at their mommy’s breast and in evangelical churches.
The interesting thing is
We all do it. I do it, although I try not to but it sneaks into my writing, probably because I was brought up in WWII America and we were more of a racist nation then than we admit to being today. Or simply less overt—I haven’t made up my mind about that yet—racism lies deep in language because it lies deep in our hearts and deeper yet in our history. For those who were not watching at the time, we put our Japanese-Americans into concentration camps and segregated our military in 1941. And that was okay with most of us—we weren’t either Japanese or black.
Other small matters, further back in the dustbin of our history
Our Founding Fathers were slave-owners, because that was the cool thing in the late 1700s. They opined that all men are created equal and then defined that equality by finding each male slave equal to three-fifths of a man. Well, I suppose you settle for 3/5ths if you’re a slave and haven’t all that much control over your life. Not that they got to vote. Their owners got to vote for three fifths of them and if you owned 500 slaves, that was quite a power against that northern industrial part of America. Any connivance going on there by the framers? You think? After the Civil War the South found other means to hold down blacks, many of which continue today. Then of course there’s the small matter of the genocide we practiced for a couple hundred years upon our indigenous population, those folks we improperly call Indians. Trail of Tears, broken treaties, smallpox in the blankets, annihilating the buffalo and all that shifting of tribes around to the last worst place. These collected memories of our history tend to shake me up a bit when we get on our high-horse about China and their equal rights record, seeing that it’s very much the pot calling the kettle black or—in this case--red.
But our subject is the ownership of language
And the beginnings of that are ownership of our history. Yet it’s hard to own our history if we don’t know what the hell it is or was. And the bible of American history is the schoolbooks we are served up, mostly chosen by very white and very historically ignorant and largely racist school boards across the nation. Reminds me of the lyrics to a song:
“The things that you’re liable, to find in the bible…they ain’t necessarily so.”
I leave you to yet another George Carlin video…this one on what we've done over the past hundred years to dumb down, iron out and bleed our language to the edge of death in an attempt to save ourselves from any aspect of honesty in communicating with one another. Just remember when someone tries to waltz some of this empty jargon past you…it ain’t necessarily so.
Image Credit: www.azcentral.com