2012 saw a lot of insanity and inanity in politics at all levels, but perhaps none more so than at the federal level (what’s new?). These situations, or dare I say, shenanigans, contained a lot of political-speak that really needs to go. Here are my top 10 political words and terms that need to die in 2013:
#10: Grassroots. In politics, this is supposed to mean movements of and by ordinary people, as opposed to the political elite. However, this term has been thrown around by both parties in an attempt to demonstrate that they are, in fact, making a sincere attempt to identify with us little people and understand our plights, which are the plights of a majority of the country. They have failed miserably.
#9: War on Christmas. There is no war on Christmas. Nobody has actually proposed removing Christmas from American lexicon, from religion, from society, with the possibility of a handful of nuts. The President did not (contrary to a post that made the rounds of the Internet) decide to call them “holiday trees” this year. Granted, there do seem to be a lot of people who get unnecessarily offended by nativity scenes, but there is no actual war on Christmas.
#8: Reach across the aisle. Yes, “reaching across the aisle” is a good thing; however, the term itself carries a strong sense of division that perhaps reinforces the polarization that the general public feels. Instead of using this term, politicians should just say that they’re trying to work together, or (gasp!) compromise. That is, after all, what more than 70% of the American people want.
#7: Job creators. This one has been overused for a few years, actually, but by the time of the general election it just made me want to retch. The job creators in a consumer economy are the consumers, not the corporations, not the wealthy, and not small business owners. Because there’s no reason for anybody to hire if consumers aren’t spending. That’s a simple fact.
#6: Austerity. Both parties throw this word around quite a bit, but use it in two different ways. Austerity, in politics, refers to deep cuts on domestic spending programs in an attempt to reduce the deficit, yet Republicans and Democrats insist on their own versions of austerity and won’t, dare I say it, reach across the aisle.
#5: Entitlements. We pay into them with the payroll tax. While there has been raiding and serious mismanagement of Medicare and Social Security, causing them both to contribute, in their own way, to the national debt, the fact remains that we pay into them with the payroll tax. So, of course, they’re entitlements. However, the GOP has taken this term and tried to make it mean “getting something for nothing.” We don’t get Medicare and Social Security for nothing. So stop using the term as though it’s something bad, which brings me to:
#4: Handout. Let’s be clear: there’s a difference between social programs and handouts. Social programs are intended to help people who, for whatever reason, are unable to support themselves in part or in full, temporarily or permanently. The use of the word “handout” turns social welfare programs into something that is a drain on society and, by extension, vilifies people who must rely on social programs to get by, such as the elderly and the disabled.
#3: Obstructionism. This is actually what the GOP has spent two years doing. But can we come up with another word for it, please? Obstructionism implies a movement of some type, when all they did was block everything in an attempt to keep President Obama from being re-elected.
#2: Debate. The fiscal debate. The gun control debate. The debate over the debt ceiling. The economic debate. This debate. That debate. Debate, debate, debate. Is there any topic that is not a debate of some type these days? Especially given the GOP’s inability to work with anybody that doesn’t think like them?
#1: Fiscal cliff. I’m sure everybody is shocked by this choice for number one. We spent every single moment of every single day steeped in media coverage of the impending fiscal cliff, referring to the tax hikes and budget sequester set to go into effect on New Year’s Day if another deal wasn’t reached. Now, we’re hearing about even more fiscal cliffs, including the debt ceiling and the expiration of the current budget resolution.