The Political Semantics of Designating Evil Properly
So, I was cleaning out my dashboard’s cluttered “Draft” folder when I happened upon this article that, apparently, I, with my lingering chemo-clouded brain, forgot to post after penning it so long ago.
Because I’m lazy and don’t feel like writing something fresh, I’m posting it now.
To be honest (my Spidey senses always tingles whenever someone premises a statement with “to be honest,” so you may or may not want to be wary of what lies ahead), I’m not exactly sure what I was trying to accomplish with this rambling post, other than attempting and failing to make myself seem witty and smart; however, at some point it does seem to be taking George Dubya Bush to task for his black-or-white view of the world and all the damage it did.
Sadly, considering what’s before us, I’d take Dubya back as president as an alternative in a New York Minute…
The Political Semantics of Designating Evil Properly
Black & White & Bloody Red All Over
The game we pedants like to play to assuage our insecure little Big Egos by asserting our “intellectual” superiority over all you lesser thans; though all that typically ends up being accomplished is we embarrass ourselves while annoying you.
Sigh… The things we Slaves to Ego must do to satisfy the Master.
Anyway, to play my pedant part properly I should point out that when we, and by we I mean all of us not just we pedants, refer to semantics, we usually are referring to lexical semantics; for, according to the Google side of my brain, it is the linguistic side of semantics – versus the logical side – which focuses on word meaning and word relationships.
But, you know what… all that pedantic semantic nonsense is mere… you guessed it… semantics.
And regardless the semantic semantics label, there sure has been a lot of the political variety of it going on in Washington, lately…
And by lately I mean forever.
And the semantics of the political variety have kicked into overdrive with this week’s White House-sponsored “Countering Violent Extremism” summit (which has somehow managed to not invite the FBI Director…you know, the guy responsible for coordinating much of the violent extremism countering. But I digress…)
Ever since the what should be a national holiday of Dubya Bush’s last day in office, the Obama administration has been struggling with just how to refer to this little thing we got going on with these hyper-radical, hyper-extreme, and ultra-hyper-violent terrorists who do their work all in the name of Islam.
One “good” thing about Dubya’s 1950s Black-and-White view of the world: we never had to be bothered with the word “nuanced.” In Bush’s worldview, everything was either this or that, for or against, good versus evil.
One bad thing about Bush’s view of the world – and by bad I mean completely and disatrously catastrophic to nearly every living and near living being on the planet – is that it brought about the beginning of the end of our “American Exceptionalism.”
Well, I guess that could be a good thing to many of you who never bought into any of that – some may say – propaganda.
Regardless whether you think the beginning of the end of America’s Global Dominance in just about all major endeavors that I would judge as mostly benefiting most people – American ideals, education, business, diplomacy, medicine, etc. (military dominance is not included in this for it will be quite some time before our conventional military might is seriously challenged, although many will try to lead us to believe it is being challenge because we are easier to manipulate when we’re scared) – is a good thing or a bad thing, it is, nonetheless, a thing.
And I blame this beginning of the end mostly on Dubya’s presidency.
And I’m not just talking about our “liberation” of Iraq that was premised upon lies, though that is largely responsible.
Do a quick search on the impact Dubya’s policy changes had on Big Pharma (the major pharmcutical companies) and you’ll find that all these shortages we now have in our most critical medicines can be traced back to these changes.
And we can go on and on…
But, again, I digress…
Like I was saying, at least in Bush’s Black-and-White, For-or-Against, Dead-or-Alive world view, we pretty much always knew where he stood on things (because the things he didn’t stand on were or were being ground to dust beneath his heel).
Unfortunately, he was just about always standing in the wrong place.
(But, admittedly, not always… The Bush Administration did do some wonderful things to help African nations cope with the AIDS/HIV.)
But just about always he was wrong standing…
President Obama, on the other hand, in his highly nuanced world view, is just the opposite…
For most rational adults that I know realize that rarely is life as cookie cutter, this-or-that, as Dubya-simple as Bush tried to make it out to be.
Life is so far from being Black-and-White that it makes a box of colorful crayons look close to colorless.
Every important aspect of life is a gradient of possibilities: our relationship with ourselves, our spouses and significant others, our children, our friends, our enemies, our co-workers, their co-workers, our religion, our lack of religion…
Life is not just full of nuances, life is a nuance.
Surely, many do live their lives according to a Dubya-simple (which, for simplicity’s sake we’ll just call “Dubya”) worldview…
All I can say to that is…
How sad it must be to feel so threatened by life’s vibrantly colorful gradient of choices that one must limit his or her perspective to only two – black and white – all in an effort to make one’s involvement in life that much easier and Dubya.
And when the bounds of one’s perspective is so narrow and bland, it is easy and even tempting to become threatened when the gradated colorful perspectives of others bleed into it and distort the safe, colorless view.