How the GOP Has Changed the English Language
The Kansas City Star
According to the Bing definition Liberal means: 1.broad-minded: tolerant of different views and standards of behavior in others 2.progressive politically or socially: favoring gradual reform, especially political reforms that extend democracy, distribute wealth more evenly, and protect the personal freedom of the individual 3.generous: freely giving money, time, or some other asset Now, all these qualities sound good to me. Yet, when the first George Bush ran against Michael Dukakis, he and his trainers managed to turn “liberal” into a dirty word. I will admit that I was furious with Dukakis with not coming back with something like, “Yeah, I’m a liberal and proud of it because that means I’m (see above definitions).” But did he? No. He was almost apologetic about being a liberal. He let the GOP redefine liberal into a negative.
And, the GOP did so well then that they’ve continued on. Many of us, if not most, have heard Socrates admonition, “Moderation in all things.” taught to us as being a good thing. Now, the GOP has changed the definitions of moderate: “2.reasonable: not excessive or unreasonable 3.middle-of-the-road: not extreme or radical”, which sounds like a good way to be, into being synonymous with ‘wimpy’.
Compromise has become another dirty word in the GOP lexicon. Definition: “a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc., by reciprocal modification of demands.” This, to me sounds like a reasonable course of action, but the GOP has redefined it as ‘selling out’ (see ‘wimpy’ above).
But the one that angers me the most is their attack on being intelligent. “The intelligentsia” is their scornful putdown. Definition: “1.intellectuals: the most intelligent, intellectual, or highly educated members of a society or community, especially those who are interested in the arts, literature, philosophy, and politics.” I’ve had ‘smart lib’ thrown at me as an insult.
When I was growing up in the 50s and 60s, people WANTED to be intelligent and well-educated. That’s why so many jumped at the GI Bill.
It is unbelievable and appalling that the GOP is turning their backs on the older generations’ veneration of intelligence and is making being smart and well-educated negatives. Maybe that’s why they seem to be so eager to cut funding for education.
Now, I will admit that sometimes the ‘intelligentisia’ comes across a little strong. Maybe even a little bossy. However, considering the above definition, since they are intelligent and well-educated, they may very well be right.