Give Me My Words Back!

Give Me My Words Back!

Recently I read that women possess an average of 30,000 words in their vocabulary while we men (simple mitochondria that we are) have a measly 15,000. So you can understand my dismay at discovering that over the last 8 years some of these precious words have been kidnapped. Let me explain -

Growing up, I always thought that it was a good thing to be "elite." According to my Funk and Wagnalls - "elite" is the best of a class or a group of people who by virtue of their position or education exercise much power and influence. Being on the "elite team" meant you were a cut above. But suddenly, that "doyen of linguistic knowledge" Sean Hannity has deftly changed the definition to something undesirable. Calling Barack Obama a member of the "East-coast elite" is suddenly a negative thing. Hmm - I guess I can't use THAT word any more.

I used to proudly wear my "liberal" moniker because I knew it to mean "one who favors civil liberties and social progress." But during the recent Republican National Convention, reformed (or should I say "born again") "East-Coast Elite" Mitt Romney shouted his answer along with the crowd to a myriad of vitriolic questions - "Is government spending - liberal or conservative...? LIBERAL! screamed the audience. Puzzled, I had to cross that word off my usage list as well.

Lately I've heard many new words and phrases thrown out by the religious right much like the cry of "She's a witch!" back in puritanical Salem. "They don't support the troops!" How unpatriotic!" "They have no Family Values!" "Only the Republicans are "compassionate!"

My patriotism? Well - now they've gone too far. So - I'm taking my words back! First of all, to be "patriotic" means so much more than wearing a flag pin or a yellow "support the troops" bumper sticker. I love our brave US soldiers enough to NEVER want them to use their weapons. Now how about THAT patriotism?!
And, if you ask me, I'd rather have an über-smart elite Harvard-trained lawyer running the country as opposed to someone who is just "one of us." We've already done eight years of "dumb."

Where I come from, fighting for civil liberties and social progress, are noble causes. If one thinks that life was so much better before the civil unrest of the sixties, just ask a black man in the South or an under-paid woman on Wall Street how THEY would like to return to the days of "Ozzie and Harriet?"

So, when it comes to my words, I get pretty possessive. Don't tell me, when a neighbor's son is killed by his own men that it's "friendly fire!" and when sweet little Iraqi or Afghani children are killed by our "smart bombs" that it's just "collateral damage." I need to feel the horror of those scenes to remain human and I need my words to paint that picture.

Don't cop-out and use the impersonal moniker "Illegals" to describe my mexican friends who are fathers and mothers just trying to make ends meet. True "family values" means actually valuing a family even if they don't look just like yours. For families brown, yellow, single, mom & mom, or dad & dad - my favorite "family value" is unconditional love not bigotry, homophobia, or prejudice.

Lastly - these tricky euphemisms that you've been using lately - "exploring for energy" (for drilling for oil), "weapons of mass destruction" (for nuclear bomb), and "axis of evil" (which is used for any country you're planning on attacking in the near future) - Give 'em a rest. I kind of like the original versions. They have a certain "truthiness" to them.

So, now that I have my words back, how 'bout a game of Scrabble? (Just keep your Mitts off my tiles!)

updated 6 years ago