A defining characteristic of those on the political left is their ever-shifting language. Nothing is as it seems, and their verbiage is forever changing as people figure out what they stand for. Even the moniker for their movement has transformed from communist to socialist to liberal to progressive and is moving back to socialist. The recent pledge by some liberal news outlets to start pushing the term “climate emergency” in place of the previous environmental fear phrases “climate change,” “climate disruption” and “global warming” is another example of their never-ending search for a label that will allow them to accomplish their goals before enough people realize what they are talking about.
Other examples include “common-sense gun laws” (a euphemism for banning guns), “pay their fair share” (increasing taxes) and “affordable health care” (socialized medicine). The left has spent decades devising vague catch phrases that sound great to the uninformed and their willing accomplices in the media, but are simply euphemisms for things they could never get passed if they were honest. For example, the claim of affordable health care is how it became the federal government’s business if you use tobacco or have a firearm in your home.
We have seen this all-powerful intrusion on steroids over the past year with governments’ COVID measures. The government forbidding you from going to work? The government telling you what items you are allowed to buy at the store? The government ordering you to take medicine? These massive expansions of government power over the smallest details of Americans’ lives is exactly the point of broad but vague manipulation of the language of public policy as a means to disguise political power grabs.
Since the change in administration, the left has found its new version of “affordable health care.” Every liberal initiative is now promoted under the pretext of “infrastructure.” In addition to roads and bridges one would expect in an infrastructure spending bill, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., contends mandatory child care and paid time off work are “infrastructure”. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says revamping America’s immigration laws to allow a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens could be considered infrastructure. Other big-government goodies stuffed under the new catch-all phrase “infrastructure” include federal spending on housing, manufacturing, care for the elderly and a new federal law making it harder for workers to opt out of union membership.
In fact, the administration is openly arguing that the entire definition of “infrastructure” needs to be expanded to encompass all sorts of new federal mandates, such as elder care and broadband internet for rural areas. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is taking the entire idea of redefining words to new levels of absurdity, arguing that child care, socialized health care and subsidized college should be included because they support “human infrastructure.”
Not only is the definition of infrastructure being expanded, but now the administration is floating a new definition of “bipartisan.” The $1.9 trillion coronavirus bill having passed without a single Republican vote, there is a level of political necessity in finding GOP votes for additional trillions in unfunded spending so Democrats can avoid taking all the blame for record-setting deficits. The problem is they are unwilling to give up anything they want or work with Republicans on items of importance to GOP voters. The solution? Simply redefine what it means to be bipartisan. The administration this week floated the idea that Democrats can claim a bill was passed with “bipartisan” support – even if no Republicans vote for it – if they can find even a single person anywhere claiming to be a Republican who supports their bill. Laughably, administration officials tout the new definition of bipartisan as something that unites the country.
We have reached a point where words no longer mean anything, because they mean whatever politicians want them to mean at any given moment. Although we are told the country is being united by this constant manipulation of the language so that one side can railroad its agendas, it is, in fact, tearing our nation further apart than ever before because we cannot even agree what words mean.
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