Every year, Buzzwords are added to the lexicon of our lives. Nowhere have they been more prevalent than in politics.
Before he even rode down the escalator into infamy, Donald Trump would frequently use the word, “Fake,” or “Fake News Media.” In fact, he used the word so often – nearly 2,000 times, according to Britain’s Independent – that the phrase quickly came to define the man and his intellect.
Here is the dictionary definition of “Fake,” followed by Trump’s.
Dictionary.com: “Fake,” as to “prepare or make (something specious, deceptive, or fraudulent): to fake a report showing nonexistent profits.”
Trump: “Fake,” as “anything that criticizes or demeans what he says or believes: Pushing back on a report that stated he only paid $750 for taxes in one year, Trump said, “It’s fake news…. Made up. Fake. … Totally fake news.”
Trump’s use of the term has been so pervasive, I’m surprised he hasn’t copyrighted the phrase.
When the discussion turned to removing statues of Confederate war heroes that represented slavery, “Cancel Culture” became Trump’s phrase-du-jour.
Dictionary.com does not have a definition for the catchphrase. It does, however, define “culture.”
- the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc.
- that which is excellent in the arts, manners, etc.
- a particular form or stage of civilization, as that of a certain nation or period: Greek culture.
- development or improvement of the mind by education or training.
Cancel means abolish, erase, eliminate.
Utilizing the third definition, “cancel culture” would refer to negating a nation or period. If Trump and others are against the removal of statues that represent our less than glorious past, what about post-World War II Germany? Did they cancel their Nazi culture?
In the September 2019 edition of The Atlantic, Susan Neiman writes, “There are no Nazi sites in Germany in the sense that there are plantation sites in the United States. The only equivalent sites that now exist in Germany are concentration camps.”
Many years ago while visiting the concentration camp Dachau outside Munich, I asked one of the guides, “Why would you want to preserve a site which represents so much hate and death?” His response, “So, we will always remember what happened and hopefully prevent it from ever happening, again.”
Since Trump’s election loss, his disciples have adopted a new phrase, “Woke,” as in “Woke baseball,” when Major League Baseball pulled the 2021 All Star game from Atlanta in response to Georgia’s new voting restrictions.
Now, it’s woke this, woke that. It took me awhile to wake up to “woke.” I always thought it was used in the context of sleep.
Dictionary.com: stop sleeping, arise, wake. “When he woke up in the middle of class, he found Mr. Stellwag glaring at him,” (that really happened in a high school class of mine).
The Oxford English Dictionary defines “woke” as “well-informed, up-to-date. Now chiefly: alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice,” as in ‘woke corporations.’ ”
In response to corporations who have publicly spoken out against Georgia’s voting voting laws and other social issues, Mitch McConnell and other Republicans who depend on corporate donations, recently criticized those same corporations for, “dabbling in behaving like a woke parallel government,” and said that they “will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order.”
He told corporations to stay out of politics… except for donations, of course.
Considering the popularity of these politically charged buzzwords I thought of some words that today’s politicians could add to their vocabulary.
Responsibility: “the state or fact of being responsible, answerable, or accountable for something within one’s power, control, or management.” E.G. “When are people in the Senate ever going to hold themselves accountable?”
Trustworthiness: “deserving of trust or confidence; dependable; reliable.” E.G. “I wish we had more trustworthy Representatives in Congress.”
Respect: “recognizing and honoring each person’s right to autonomy, self-determination, privacy and dignity. E.G. “Just don’t be assholes… show some modicum of respect.” Sen. Ted Cruz said after he hurried back from Cancún, Mexico while Texas was freezing from a power failure. (Of course, that’s a hypocritical example of the word.)
Responsibility, Trustworthiness, Respect.
Those are three words I would like politicians use… and practice more regularly.