The war on words is exploding. To be politically correct and not engage in inflammatory discourse, let’s revise the opening sentence as follows: the discussion surrounding the proper use of sensitivity in our speech and writings, so as to not in any way emotionally injure others, is gaining positive momentum in the public forum. Is this the end of clear, concise and colorful communications as we know it?
The argument that hurtful, explicit and harsh words particularly in the realm of politics can be damaging to the individual to whom they are directed as well as lead to dangerous actions by unknowns among us is, in effect, a way of neutering our language. Why take the passion out of what we say and mask or distort the true meaning of what is said. This is not a kindergarten class; this is real life adult commentary. Or, at least, it should be.
Politics in America, as in most of the free world, has always been a rough and tumble affair. In Revolutionary Days the population was split into three factions. Those loyal to the crown, those comfortable with the status quo and those wanting to break away from England. So there were lots of heated debates and actual fisticuffs over the direction the Colonies should take until those wanting to fight for freedom won out.
Maybe it is the weakening of the American spirit due in part to a lack of faith in our exceptionalism that took the fight out of some. These timid souls believe we should not resort to using strong words to make a point or even refer to the opposition in a less than flattering manner.
Just because you don’t like the words used by others to describe your philosophy, your position and your ultimate actions does not necessarily put you on the right side of a particular issue. In fact, the more distinct and impactful the words the better able we are to frame and define the topics in order to form a studied opinion.
So why don’t the politicians — many of whom have engaged in this kind of rhetoric in the past, and their do-gooder supporters including some of the media — just drop the false bravado? Get honest and get back to focusing on the points they want to make and do it as powerfully as possible. The opposition should do the same. Don’t pull any punches. Simply say what you mean and mean what you say. That’s all we ask.
Bold, even vitriolic discourse, is not the only way to communicate. However, there always has been a place for charged words. Free speech is not necessarily pleasant, but it is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
We want our politicians to stand tall, buck up and stick to their principles. Instead of cowering when attacked by an opponent, fight back with a spray of rich, powerful and enlightened words that make your point and lets them know that you’ll pick up the gauntlet and fight when necessary. That’s the American way. There are no other words for it.