There’s a “challenge” at the southern border, not a “crisis.” Migrant children are being held in “reception centers” not “cages.” Instead of “border security,” it’s “border safety.” Deleted are the phrases “legal and illegal,” replaced with “authorized and unauthorized.”
Democrats are using their political power to change the English language — to blur the meaning of what’s right versus wrong of what’s politically correct versus incorrect. Living in a world of cancel culture it all becomes perilous to the average American — what words can be used to describe what, without offending?
And it’s intentional. The left has long tried to redefine the meaning of words to their political advantage and in many cases have succeeded. Remember last fall, when then-Judge Amy Coney Barrett was criticized for using the term “sexual preference,” in responding to a question about legal protections for the LGBT community during her confirmation hearing?
“Sexual preference” was weaponized by the left for being a homophobic slur. The correct term is “sexual orientation,” PBS News’ Yamiche Alcindor quickly pointed out at the time. The Advocate called Justice Barrett’s comment “a revealing moment,” and CNN political commentator David Axelrod mused, “I wonder if [Barrett] views heterosexuality as a ‘preference.’”
Never mind, Democrats have been using the term “sexual preference” for ages — then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden used it on the campaign trail in May. Most alarming in Justice Barrett’s case is after she uttered the term, Merriam-Webster updated its definition of “preference” to include the word’s usage in certain contexts may be “offensive.”
This vocabulary manipulation is dangerous — it’s meant to deceive, persuade and divide the republic. In some cases, Democrats disregard words with very specific meanings in favor of those which are more nebulous — in an effort to brand their political enemy with the broadest brush possible.
Take for example White supremacy. Everyone knows and understands that White supremacy is bad, but in actuality, it only includes a very small group of people within the United States. As does Qanon and members of the Proud Boys.
However, instead of calling these groups out individually — which would define their potential harm as specific and narrow — Democrats and the mainstream media have redefined the lot of them as “domestic terrorists.” It’s an intentionally broad term, of which the left can also lump Trump supporters, and be weaponized to exaggerate their potential, collective harm.
But never mind Antifa. As President Biden has said: “Antifa is an idea, not an organization,” and therefore can’t be grouped in with the others.
In addition, “misinformation” has now become the left’s new buzzword for “propaganda.” It too is intentionally vague and open for interpretation – and therefore can be used in a variety of ways to smear their political opponents. Everyone inherently knows what propaganda is — information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view, like political advertisements. Yet, “misinformation” is more abstract and because the American people don’t know exactly what its definition is, the left can use more casually, in a manner to shut down legitimate debate.
Currently, the “misinformation” label is being used by Democrats to justify shutting down right-leaning television networks Fox News and Newsmax, and to ban conservative accounts from social media for merely sharing their point of view.
Creating new definitions for existing words or creating new words entirely is being used by Democrats to redefine our republic. As columnist Jim Harbison pointed out several years ago, for a stable society to exist, there must be a common language, with commonly accepted and understood words.
So many people I spoke to when I was on the campaign trail commonly said they felt like they were living in an upside-down world. Much of this has to do with the left’s constant manipulation of our English language.
The left is trying to indoctrinate us with new or redefined terms that inherently pit us against each other. Americans are then bullied into using these terms out of fear they may be perceived as bigoted.
Yet, there is nothing perverse with using gendered terms like mother and father, and in December greeting one with “Merry Christmas” is widely regarded as spreading cheer not religious bigotry.
However, without turmoil, the left could not advance its agenda — there must always be a victim or disenfranchised individual to protect, and a political foe to demonize.
We cannot allow the left to render our words meaningless and to obfuscate what’s right and wrong, lawful or unlawful. It’s time to take back the English language and start calling things for what they are.
For starters: The tripling of migrants detained at our southern border in the last two weeks is more than just a challenge, Joe Biden’s White House, it’s a crisis.
• Kelly Sadler is commentary editor at The Washington Times.