Republican state Representative Chris Stolle has a problem with words. To be specific, he has a problem with science words. Stolle is the sponsor of a $50,000 state study that is supposed to figure out how climate change is affecting the Virginia coastline. There’s only one problem. Republicans like Stolle refuse to allow the study to move forward unless some words they object to are omitted or changed.
Stolle and his Republican colleagues object to terms like “global warming,” “climate change,” and “sea level rise,” because he says they are terms that liberals use. Forget the fact that the scientific community uses these terms all the time, because liberals use them, they must be bad. So in place of these harmless terms, Stolle has replaced them with terms like “recurrent flooding” and “coastal resiliency.”
Stolle says these scientific terms are “liberal code words” that inflame conservatives so his solution is to use words conservatives don’t associate with liberals, hence the new language. The legislation then sailed through the general assembly and was signed into law.
Is this what it takes to actually get things done in government these days? Do we seriously have to use different language to appeal to the narrow minds of conservative politicians, activists, and voters? I wonder what other terms we could change to appeal to conservatives and make them feel more comfortable doing their jobs. Perhaps we should change the “war on women” to the “war on property” to make conservatives actually stop their anti-women legislation. Perhaps we should replace “environment” with simpler words like “land” and “water” and “places where animals live and people hunt.” Maybe if we did that, conservatives would finally understand why conservation is so important. But why stop there? Surely there are other words that we could replace to make Republicans eager to join in solving the problems America faces.
For instance, let’s replace the term “higher taxes on the wealthy” with “patriotism.” That should get the ball rolling on raising revenues to help solve the debt issue. We should get rid of the term “cuts to defense spending” and replace it with “creating funds to make America stronger within.” We may even be able to move the ball forward on “same-sex marriage” by simply calling it “marriage.” Let’s make Republicans more open to job creation too. Instead of “creating jobs,” let’s say “creating responsibilities.” Perhaps that will spur the right-wing into action.
If all it takes to get things done in America is to make conservatives feel better about words, I say let’s do it and get it over with. But if Republicans have been purposefully doing nothing because they object to mere words, especially just because liberals and most of America happen to use those words, the American people should consider omitting Republicans from government entirely. Then things will really get done.