The WaPo has a good commentary today by Eugene Robinson. It focuses on the use of language by Bush and his gang of thugs as a way to control discussions and even thought patterns. How Orwellian of them. (As an aside, I am somewhat amused by the fact that my Word spellchecker knows how to spell “Orwellian”, even though the Thesaurus feature has no idea what it means.)
One of the words that has bugged me from the first time I heard it was “homeland”, as in “protecting out homeland”. I had never heard that word applied to the United States before 9/11, and I don’t really like it now. It has some emotional harmonics that hearken back to Lenin’s Russia or the Third Reich. Homeland sort of sounds like Motherland, doesn’t it? The term is very territorial in nature, and rather implies without saying so directly that things inside our borders are good and worth defending (which they are) and everything outside our borders is suspect and dangerous (which is ridiculous). It seems to reflect, to me anyway, the worst traits among us; tribalism, isolationism, and xenophobia.
I am very, very suspicious of buzzwords, especially when they are so pre-loaded with emotional content. I REALLY don’t like it when the buzzword chosen has links back to the really horrendously evil ideologies we were opposing in World War II and in the Cold War. Indeed, I think this is a conscious effort by someone in the Bush Administration to control how we think about something. Frame the entire concept in a way that “speaks” at an emotional level to a large percentage of the populace, and it takes away a large chunk of what can even be debated. Because if you start debating the meaning of something, you automatically put yourself on the “other side” of something that has been defined as good and trustworthy.
Why else would BushCo try to work in the word “Fascist” when discussing the radical Muslims who are bent on doing us harm. They want to control the concept. I suspect that they might have a bit of a problem when they recently introduced the word “Caliphate” to describe what they perceive as Bin Ladin’s ultimate objective. I would hazard a guess that not too many Americans even know what that word means. However, it sounds like an Arab word, so it is something that will immediately engender suspicion.
Which is exactly what they wanted in the first place.