Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Word or two on “abusive language”

I want to touch briefly on abuse of plain language, rather than abusive language per se’, but at some level, I suppose they are the same.

Those of you cursed by good memories may recall I have written on this subject elsewhere over the years, under such titles as “Speaking Augustan.”

As I was walking the dodo’s a little while ago, my thoughts crystallized (or is it atrophied?) around two specific examples from current public discourse.

While I will not identify specific parties, those who follow the news will easily discern who is who.

“The Party of No”

We hear this assertion all the time these days….it’s a perfect bumper sticker sound bite.  It occurs to me, however, that just about every time someone says “no” to one idea, they are saying “yes” to something else.

If you’ve been blessed to have and raise children, have you ever told them no, or have you always said yes?  This old geezer, and the “geezette,” as I once heard mom’s called, often said no, and worse, if you get my drift.

No to overnighters with unknown families at age 7; no to candy for each meal of the day; no to beer parties for middle school graduation; no to riding a bike without your helmet; no to staying out to 2am at age 14.  Is anyone prepared to say these “no’s” make no sense?

At the adult level, saying “no” to fiscal irresponsibility is saying “yes” to a sustainable future and economy.  Saying “no” to centrally planned, controlled, and regulated health care is saying “yes” to the founding principles of liberty, free enterprise, limited government, and compliance with the Constitution.

That would be the Constitution each elected official swears to preserve, protect, and defend when they take their oath of office.  Saying “no” to living beyond government’s means is saying “yes” to a better future for our children and grandchildren.

So the next time you hear the “party of no” rhetoric, stop and think for a minute what is really going on.  If you don’t change your mind, fine; at least you will have thought critically on the subject.

“No New Ideas”

I’ve heard this one over and over again: “they have no ‘new ideas.’”

So what.  I don’t see where whether or not an idea is “new” is a measure of merit.  I’m much more interested in proven, good ideas, than I am new ideas.  And convinced that is what we need first and foremost.

Here are some ideas for you to consider:

  • Live within your means.
  • Put something aside for the future.
  • Think about the long term, not just today and tomorrow.
  • Obey the law, and honor the Constitution.
  • Live out your oath of office.
  • Eat healthy and exercise.
  • Don’t drive drunk.  (And don’t govern as if you were drunk.)
  • Look both ways before crossing the street.
  • Get a good education.

Are any of these ideas “new?”  Can you name many more that would fit perfectly in this list?  No they aren’t, and of course you can!

These ideas are as old as the hills.  I will argue strenuously, however, that they are good – as good or better than any “new ideas.”  And more proven.

So once again, the next time you hear someone say “they don’t have any ‘new’ ideas,” shrug your shoulders, and say ‘so what, most of the ideas we really need have been around for a very, very long time.’

And that’s all I have to say about that.  Let’s see how many “idiotic” ratings come in.  With no explanation or any alternatives.  Or “new ideas.”

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