Since the days of the Regan administration, the right wing has controlled the political conversation, which is not particularly surprising, since they control most of the media outlets. What is however suprising, is there are certain terms that have become entrenched into the current political dialog that, though used by progressives as well as conservatives, do nothing to further progessive causes and in fact tend to cripple the conversation. The following terms are some of those on my Progessive Bad Word list:
- Bailouts - The Troubled Asset Recover Program, designed to rescue the US financial system in 2008, quickly became known as the bailouts. Though TARP is fAR more descriptive and much more accurate, bailout reflects the disgust we all felt, that the banksters we3re allowed to ruin the economy and we, the American people, were forced to pay the $700 billion dollar bill. The problem though, is the term always carries a negative connotation. It always implies someone is being taken advantage of. You can never feel good about a bailout, so lets stop saying it. Hence forth, we should no longer use the term bailout, refer instead to the Troubled Asset Recovery Program.
- Dems - Short for Democrats, somebody decided that the Democratic Party Needed a nickname. While it sounds harmless, it allows us to feel like the Dems are our team, thereby invoking the various sports analogies, and that was how for the first six years of the Bush administration, we accepted defeat after defeat after defeat. You see, its acceptable in sports, for your team to loose, even when the game is lost because of a bad call; it only endears you to the home team. It's okay in sports that the other team keeps winning, we'll get them next time. By reporting on Politics in the sporting style, we didn't notice for years that the other team was cheating. Stop saying DEMS. The party doesn't need a nickname, and we need news reporters, not sports casters.
- Enthusiam Gap - This was the basis by which we lost the house of Representatives in 2010. We were somehow convinced that we didn't need to go out and vote, because it wasn't as exciting as the 2008 election. Newsflash, voting isn't exciting, its neccessary. I get up at 4am every election day and work as an election, judge for 18 hours, not because its fun but because it has to be done. If I can work an 18 hour day, you can certainly take a few minutes to drive to the polls, stand in line and excercise your political franchise. If it needs to be fun for you, the wear a furry hat or a cute t-shirt.
- Personal Responsibility - Yes, that one's a code word, a dog-whistle, yet it seems to find its way into legitimate conversation. The problem is, everybody knows its a catch phrase. The people at whom its aimed are automatically insulted and the people doing the aiming have no respect for the people at whom they hurl the phrase. Consequently, when you say Personal Responsibility you may as well say blah blah blah blah because it only serves to insert a virtual void into the dialog.
These are but a few vocabulary words, but I'm sure you can think of more. Feel free to add you own words as comments to this article.