The French have L’Academe Francaise to protect their language from the onslaughts of other languages and sloppy writers and speakers. We have…Karl Rove?
“Also reserved for between the covers of Rove’s book is his checklist of the "great many of the political actors in this town (who) never accepted him as a legitimate president."
"I’ve got behind-the-scenes episodes that are going to show how unreceiving they were of this man as president of the United States," Rove said, adding: "I’m going to name names and show examples."
Excuse me, Karl: “unreceiving”? Perhaps you might consider the use of ‘unaccepting’ or even rethinking this entire sentence: “I’ve related behind-the-scenes episodes that show how they rejected George Bush as president of the United States.”
Goodness knows, my grasp of grammar and punctuation is shaky and my vocabulary skills require the regular use of a dictionary, but I do think I can say that one of the crimes committed by members of the Bush Administration and other members of the GOP has been a complete and utter disregard for the English language and for meanings of words.
For many people, this has been the stuff of comedy for eight years and it would be amusing, too, except for one thing: the GOP has twisted the language and used words to cow us, abuse us, abuse the most dearly held laws and customs of this country and frankly almost brought the country and all of us to our knees.
But, my name is not Keith Olbermann and what I’m about to write about is something a little bit lighter, which is the meanings of words and how the GOP just doesn’t seem to understand them:
Sen. Stevens and Sarah Palin on the word “gift”: noun
1. something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance; present.
So, you see, it is not the ‘giftee’ who decides what is a gift; it is the giver. Allowing someone to put something they are ‘giving’ to you in your basement doesn’t take away the ‘gift-ness’; leaving full suitcases in ‘the belly of the campaign plane’ doesn’t turn $180,000 worth of clothing and accessories worn by you and members of your family into something else. They are ‘gifts’ and should be reported as such.
Vice President Cheney on the word “traitor”: noun
1. a person who betrays another, a cause, or any trust.
2. a person who commits treason by betraying his or her country.
Vice President Cheney, the word “traitor” does not include the meaning, “Anyone who doesn’t agree with me,” and I would dare say that some people in this country would believe that you have involved yourself in activities that come under both (1) and (2).
As a matter of fact, there are many people in this country who you called ‘traitor” and people “aiding the enemy” who frankly should have been called, “patriots”.
1. a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.
2. a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, esp. of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government.
I think many people in this country would have to question whether or not it was in the interests of the United States for you to have done and continue to do the things that you do which frankly appear to be only in the interests of such organizations as Halliburton, Blackwater and KBR.
I also have a bone to pick with members of the current Administration and the GOP with regard to other words over which they don’t seem to have a good grasp, because they indulge in doing the opposite of what they mean seemingly all the time:
True (adjectival form of ‘truth’)
1. being in accordance with the actual state or conditions; conforming to reality or fact; not false: a true story.
2. real; genuine; authentic: true gold; true feelings.
3. sincere; not deceitful: a true interest in someone’s welfare.
4. firm in allegiance; loyal; faithful; steadfast: a true friend.
5. being or reflecting the essential or genuine character of something: the true meaning of his statement.
6. conforming to or consistent with a standard, pattern, or the like: a true copy.
7. exact; precise; accurate; correct: a true balance.
8. of the right kind; such as it should be; proper: to arrange things in their true order.
9. properly so called; rightly answering to a description: true statesmanship.
10. legitimate or rightful: the true heir.
11. reliable, unfailing, or sure: a true sign.
12. exactly or accurately shaped, formed, fitted, or placed, as a surface, instrument, or part of a mechanism.
13. honest; honorable; upright.
We can all think of numerous examples of statements made by the current and former members of the Bush/Cheney administration which they have pronounced as ‘true’ and which we have found to be completely false.
Which beings us to the last word:
Lie (noun or verb):
1. a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.
2. something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture: His flashy car was a lie that deceived no one.
3. an inaccurate or false statement.
4. the charge or accusation of lying: He flung the lie back at his accusers.
–verb (used without object)
5. to speak falsely or utter untruth knowingly, as with intent to deceive.
6. to express what is false; convey a false impression.
The most recent examples of this are President Bush’s claims to ‘liberation’ in Iraq and SOS Condoleeza Rice’s statements this morning on “This Week” with regard to WMD, which even Vice President Cheney has admitted were a non-entity. Madam..it doesn’t reflect well on you to be a liar. We also might point to Treasury Sec. Paulsen’s claims before the bailout that the money was needed to free up the credit markets; we’ve seen since that the money has not been used for that at all. Hank – that makes YOU a liar also.
There has been a lot of chitchat on the Right about how to bring back the GOP; is it dead; is it moribund; is it the fault of the Evangelicals or the Pro-lifers; the list of excuses goes on and on.
If my 7th Grade English teacher, Mrs. Neugebauer were here, she’d say that “the problem is that the GOP is a bunch of sloppy thinkers.” She was a huge proponent of teaching solid (that is, pre-whole language “bushwa”) English grammar, punctuation and vocabulary. She flogged us with diagramming sentences and vocabulary worksheets on a weekly basis. In her mind, anyone who could not construct a sentence with a subject, verb and an object was a sloppy thinker and frankly, a moron and could not be trusted.
My Rx for the GOP? The RNC should call up Amazon.com, order and send out to every registered GOP member, Congress Critter and staffer a copy of the each of the following for their very own:
Strunk and White: The Elements of Style
Webster’s Collegiate Unabridged Dictionary
Kitty Burns Florey: Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences (for those more internet inclined, this
Diagramming Site is a complete gem.
Sloppy writing and speaking, sloppy thinking, sloppy governing. All of a piece, eh, Mrs. Neugebauer?