I was talking with a 27-year old neighbor today. He brought up the topic of how the level of education in this nation has slipped, and what that means for shaping policy both in Wisconsin and across the nation. When we reflected on the outcome of the recent elections it was obvious to us that angry folks who sit and drink beer on the sofa, and have no real insight or interest in policy, cast votes.
When it comes to educational standards many nations around the globe are passing us by. From math and science, to history and literature, America is getting left behind. There are many reasons for the education hole we are in at this time. Policy wonks can debate them for years.
But there is no doubt we are slipping further behind educated folks around the globe when bad word usage….or more accurately….speaking out of your ass… gets praise.
Which leads me to Sarah Palin.
Sarah Palin may have been on the receiving end of quite a bit of mockery when she inadvertently coined the term “refudiate” last July, but now the former Alaska governor is getting her due – kind of. The New Oxford American Dictionary has named “refudiate” 2010’s Word of the Year.
Palin introduced the term into the American lexicon last July when she used it in a Tweet about the proposed Islamic cultural center near the World Trade Center site in New York City. “Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate,” she posted on her Twitter account.
The message was removed from her Twitter page shortly after its posting, but Palin (who had also, it was soon discovered, used the word during a previous appearance on Fox News) defended her usage of “refudiate” in another Tweet: “‘Refudiate,’ ‘misunderestimate,’ ‘wee-wee’d up.’ English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!”