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Lets Talk About Word Usage—Following Trump’s Cursing

January 12, 2018

My mom would not have been pleased with the behavior and words from President Trump this week.  Her views would not be couched in partisan politics but rather old-fashioned and common-sense values.  She hated to hear even words like ‘damn’ and ‘hell’ coming from our elected officials as she thought those people were to set examples for others in the nation.    When you read that line and laugh please note that this was truly how people once felt about our nation and those elected to represent us.  Those sentiments once held are long gone, but look where we landed as a result.

How should we conduct ourselves in society so to be have honest conversations on the one hand, and yet not needlessly offend on the other hand?  I would argue it is not that hard given the entire dictionary of words that one might use to make a point.

In a friendly back-and-forth on Facebook I challenged someone to justify using the term “sissifying” when speaking about how a football player/team was performing on the field to the use of the word ‘sissy’ that a child in school might use to taunt others.  How is one less corrosive than the other, and why is it better for an adult to speak in such ways as opposed to a kid?  And do not kids learn from watching and listening to how adults act?   My mom would say they do!

If the argument is that words should be allowed no matter what than we still would, as a society, see no problem with using ‘nigger’, ‘coon’ ‘half-breed’, and “jap’ in our daily conversations.  Clearly those words are no longer acceptable anywhere, and rightly so.  But if those words are deemed wrong how can it take such a leap to understand that using words such as ‘faggot’ is also wrong.

Everyday people use words wisely, and so I have to laugh when I sometimes hear that someone is ‘unable to speak freely’ as there are too many rules about needing to use politically-correct speech.  That is just a cop-out for acting with civility in modern-day society.

In the lunchroom at the average workplace no one starts up a conversation about the ‘hooters’ on the lady who sits at the front office desk.  No one can just get on a plane and say they are carrying a bomb and think such word choice is allowed, or walk into a theatre and cry “fire!”

Words have weight and if we are to live in a society where the hope of coming together is to exist at all we need to be aware of the impact of the words we use.    I use to speak before groups of constituents when working in the state assembly and was always aware of the audience I was in front of to push the right message by using the right words.  I used words hours at a time when working in radio and never felt the need to resort to ones that were laced with hate and bigotry.

The use of words is key to everything we do.  Being an adult is knowing how to employ the best use of words.  It also means understanding the power our words carry for both good and bad.

Perhaps President Trump can sit for a few minutes this weekend and page through a dictionary so next week he need not look to the international community like a fool, and to his nation as a badly spoiled child.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2018 3:47 PM

    Someone should write a play or screen-play with that as the title–the rest could pretty much write itself. An embarrassment of riches! Stay warm, Peter! It is cold outside!

  2. January 12, 2018 2:21 PM


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