Wednesday, January 18, 2017

When Words Have Different Meanings

I am an instructor of English. That is not only my bread and butter; it is my passion. I wholeheartedly believe that communication is the foundation of an ordered society. But true communication is founded on certain principles, the definition of words being among them. 

A lowly individual like me would assume that people in authority – any sort of authority – would have a mastery of communication principles. I also used to think – years ago – that a true journalist would use words carefully; he or she would try to use words precisely in order to express the exact meaning they wished to convey. But, once again, this idea has been proven to be wrong.

The mainstream media has an agenda, and it has nothing to do with conveying truth. It has to do with shaping the opinions and actions of our society – more exactly, our political system. Let me start with an example.

Eight years ago, Hillary Clinton signaled her intention to run for the presidency. The media immediately signaled its approval. Day after day – morning, noon and night – any person watching the mainstream news channels was inundated with “words of wisdom” from the candidate-to-be. It was as if one person – and one person only – was the “candidate du jour” worthy of attention.

And then, with one stroke, everything changed. Barack Hussein Obama threw his hat into the ring, and – poof! – Hillary was a persona non grata. Overnight, journalists who religiously interviewed or quoted Clinton daily were now solely focused on what Obama had to say, as if a young community organizer in his first term as a United States Senator were suddenly endowed with a wealth of experience and wisdom that Mrs. Clinton could only hope for. It was a miraculous turn-around – and it left me in no doubt that something quite fishy was going on.

And now, eight long years later, full of dictates and pronouncements from the POTUS that I can only describe as – to put it politely – totally foreign to the America I had grown up in, a person who has promised to counter the destruction I see has been elected fairly. But this whole idea of “fair” has been twisted by the media.

Apparently, it is not “fair” that my vote was cast for someone other than Hillary Clinton. It is not “fair” that I did not desire a woman of her skewed values to be elected to the highest executive office in the land. And now it is not “fair” that Trump will take the oath of office on January 20th to become the 45th President of the United States. It is not “fair” that the supporters of this new president want a peaceful inauguration; it is not “fair”… but need I go on?

The meaning of “fair” has been twisted beyond any recognition. It certainly does not mean what I – in my English “simplicity” – learned so long ago that it meant. And other words have recently been similarly “sculpted” – words like “influence” and “hacking.” Pray tell me this: How does someone – good, bad, or indifferent – hack into a system that is not online (unless you sincerely believe that being connected to electricity makes an appliance vulnerable to “hacking”)? And what, exactly, was the “influence” that certain entities supposedly imposed on my choice in voting? I voted, and I make no excuses for whom I voted. There was no “influence” that could have made me vote for Hillary Clinton.

St. Paul famously wrote, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me” (1 Corinthians 13: 11). It’s time that people grow up and put this childish manipulation of words behind them. 

And then watch the inauguration on Friday.


  1. Very well said. Love it totally!!! Mary E

  2. The word "Tolerant" has been abused similarly... amazing how many different meanings one can find for a word to push an agenda...