Earlier this month, I wrote about the right’s linguistic strategy, which is to use words, which may sound moderate to us but mean something completely different to its base. To counter these semantic tactics, I proposed an idea for how we could debunk and decode the right’s veritable Orwellian Code of encrypted language: A Republican Dictionary.
I put together a small list to get the project started and asked readers to send me their own entries. Response has been overwhelming–more than 350 people sent me definitions.
Nation reader Laurence Cumbie even thanked me for “the very first laugh I have had since November 3.” The idea, he added, “seems to me to be precisely the type of simplistic but effective antidote we need” to counter the linguistic trickery of the right.
Toward that end, I’m publishing a small sample of the new dictionary entries I’ve received below. We may even create a small book or extended pamphlet using the most creative examples submitted. Many thanks to those who took the time to write and apologies to those whose ideas we weren’t able to include in this post. But watch this space. We’re going to continue posting additional entries in the weeks ahead. And please click here to suggest your own contributions.
ACTIVIST JUDGE, n. A judge who attempts to protect the rights of minorities–most especially homosexuals–against the tyranny of the majority. (Amy Mashberg, Austin, Texas)
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES, n. New locations to drill for oil and gas. (Peter Scholz, Fort Collins, Colorado)
CIVIL LIBERTIES, n. Unnecessary privileges that you aren’t afraid of losing unless you are a God-hating, baby-killing, elitist liberal who loves Saddam Hussein more than your own safety. (Megan Ellis, Bellingham, Washington)
CLIMATE CHANGE, n. Global warming, without that annoying suggestion that something is wrong. (Robert Shanafelt, Statesboro, Georgia)
DEATH TAX, n. A term invented by anti-tax zealots and referring to a tax used to prevent the very wealthy from establishing a dominating aristocracy in this country. (David McNeely, Lutz, Florida)
DEMOCRATIC ALLY, n. Any democracy, monarchy, plutocracy, oligarchy or dictatorship–no matter how ruthless–that verbally supports American diplomatic and economic goals. (L.J. Klass, Concord, New Hampshire)