Observer Tribune COMMENTARY
By Thomas Lotito
Published: Jul 2nd, 7:09 AM
Are the meanings of words today being manipulated in our society in order to win someone over to one political view point or another?
And, are most people victims like innocent bystanders at a train wreck, when they hear a political argument, not sure of who’s right or wrong?
Etymology is the study of the origins of words. As languages have evolved over time, the meanings of many words have changed, causing confusion amongst people when communicating. Could the change in the meaning of words be a contributing factor for a person as they form their world view? The use of words has consequences.
It is my opinion, the most widely misused words today are “pro-choice,” when it comes to being “for-abortion.” The term really should be “pro-baby murder” because terminating a pregnancy has many far reaching consequences that are not connotative in the term “pro-choice.”
Furthermore, the term “gay rights” is also a term that is widely misused in order to get people into thinking that homosexuals somehow do not have equal rights because they can not openly marry.
The term “gay” means happy, and was used for generations with out the “homosexual” connotation. Homosexuals have civil rights because they are Americans, it’s only when they want to be identified by their behavior that the confusion and misuse of words ensues. “Gay rights” should really be called “homosexual rights.” And “gay marriage” should be called, “marriage equality for homosexuals.”
You can’t say a prayer at a graduation ceremony without someone invoking the words “separation of church and state,” which is often used today to limit Christian participation in schools and public activities.
The term “separation of church and state” was first used by Thomas Jefferson, which originally meant that the government could not intrude into the religious practices of Americans. What’s really happening is your constitutional rights are being trampled upon. It’s not “freedom from religion,” “it’s freedom of religion.”
Less controversial words like “I appreciate how you feel” have an air of condescension and are often used in an argument to de-legitimize another person’s point of view. What really should be said is, “I think you’re wrong” or “I strongly disagree.”
The words “Full Monte” were coined by the customers of Sir Montague Burton’s tailor shop of Sheffield, England in 1904. Burton’s complete three piece suit with a waistcoat was called the “Full Monty.” Today the term refers to being naked in public. The 1997 movie “The Full Monty” is a story about six unemployed men who decide to form a male striptease act.
The term “hate” is often used by liberals when someone points out a flaw or legitimately disagrees with Barack Obama’s policies or point of view. The person who says, “why do you hate Barack Obama?” in a political argument is really saying “I don’t want to hear your point of view, shut up.”
The word “hate” is also often used by liberals to describe financially successful and very popular conservative talk radio show hosts.
Recently, Janet Murguia, President and CEO of National Council of LaRaza, cautioned and chastised a number of television and radio talk show hosts. She said “words have consequences, and hateful words have hateful consequences.” Even though her partisan rhetoric was aimed more at talk radio, she did say that cable news shows like Chris Mathews, Rachael Maddow and Keith Obermann, parroted the vitriolic rhetoric spoken by their more unsavory guests.
If you look at politics as an advertising campaign, clarity of message is paramount. The Tea Party movement grows more and more popular. Liberals seeking to grow the size of government don’t like the Tea Party movement because they have been an effective voice in their advocacy to return to the principals set forth by the Constitution with a smaller limited Federal government.
Slang like “tea-bagger” and “wing-nut “ are used as a pejorative by liberals to describe people who participate in the Tea Party movement. If you are hearing the term “tea-bagger” or “wing-nut” for the first time of course your first reaction would be to disassociate yourself from it.
The meaning of the words “freedom of speech” has changed in our current political climate.
Is political correctness limiting free speech by the way we view policy, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation and institutional discrimination? In other words, are people afraid to speak out against behaviors that a generation ago were considered mental health issues because their definitions were changed?
The other emotionally charged misused phrase in the liberal class warrior playbook is “tax cuts are for the rich?” Today a family of four with two incomes totaling just over $100,000 is considered rich. But, they still pay the alternative minimum tax, which was put in place in the 1960’s and was not meant for middle class income people. Are you a two income family in N.J. making just over $ 100,000? Do you consider yourself “rich”?
Are you making up your mind based on campaign slogans and sound bites from the television? Does your political world view match your work ethic? Do you spend more money at the end of the month than you take in? Are you supporting politicians that spend more money than the government takes in?
When it comes to politics we shouldn’t take everything we hear at face value. Questioning the words that politicians use is prudent in determining what side of the issues we want to be on. Changing the meanings of words does have consequences.
The writer, Thomas Lotito, an independent piano tuner, is a resident of Washington Township and a frequent observer of township politics.