19 April 2005

A matter of semantic courtesy

Something which has grated on me for years, ever since Bob Dole made his infamous crack about "Democrat wars," is the tendency of right wing partisans to use "Democrat" as an adjective, instead of "Democratic," as a fillip of deliberate discourtesy.

Legitimate commentators and news reporters are always careful to say "Democratic." Invariably partisans, and especially hard right partisans, including President Bush, will say things like "Democrat economist," (Bush recently), and "Democrat-friendly press," etc. (DeLay today).

There's a place for political invective and derision, but public statements intended for the general public is not it. Would they like it if our leaders called their policies "Republicist policies," or some other malapropism? This kind of deliberate discourtesy sends a message: you're not legitimate, and we are. I consider it just a subtle, but significant part of the right wing's efforts to stifle political diversity and freedom in this country, through all disinformation all the time.

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