Day 20 – What’s in a word?

(This post is part of the 30 for 30 challenge).

I am reminded every election year that words matter. Language is very powerful as a motivating force in political rhetoric. Coupled with the right personality and the right amount of charisma, words can lead a nation towards inspirational, lofty visions  (The Gettysburg Address, civil rights, the moon landing), but they can also manipulate fears and insecurities towards engaging in unspeakable actions (internment camps, death camps).

As I wrote in an earlier post, 1984, by George Orwell, is one of the books that most significantly shaped how I see the world around me – especially as it relates to that of political bodies and governments. Don’t get me wrong.  There is a lot of good done by governments for citizens, not the least of which includes programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the National Highway System, to name a few. But I have also seen innumerable instances where, both in my life time and in past decades, governments have acted in ways that are wholly self-serving, corrupt and dangerous.

So as we enter the last ten months of the 2016 elections, let us all keep in mind three key phrases from 1984 – three mantras, if you will –  that are used in the novel to control and paralyze people, and that have existing forms in modern U.S. political rhetoric.
Continue reading “Day 20 – What’s in a word?”