Some of my most popular columns here have been efforts to banish certain phrases from intelligent conversation. Your 2014 Resolution: Stop Using These Phrases in Politics and Drop These Cliches Like a Bad Habit, Part 2 have been read by tens of people… some of whom I’m not even related to! So like The Godfather, here’s the ill-advised third entry in the saga.
Here’s a new list of political expressions you can leave in 2014 and be happy, like a room without a roof (did we ever collective admit that makes absolutely no sense?)
THIS: Sure is cold today. So much for that GLOBAL WARMING, huh?
STOP IT! There’s a lot to criticize about the climate change mantras. There are scores of expert predictions based on climate change models that have proven woefully inaccurate. There are questions of accuracy in historical measurements and in the impartiality of prediction models. There are numerous admissions of fudged numbers. BUT, no one (of consequence) ever said it would never be cold anywhere ever again. So a cold day somewhere isn’t evidence of much of anything.
Anecdotal evidence of “drastic” climate change… such as a sorrowful and manipulative image of a polar bear on a lonely little chunk of ice, is not especially scientific. But neither is “It’s COLD out! HAW HAW Where’s your warming now?”
If you want to point to significant concerns in climate change messaging, ask where the scores of hurricanes were that were supposed to follow the 2004 hurricane season and become de rigueur. Or, better yet, ask if there ever really WERE more hurricanes than, say, the 1920s or if it’s just that if a storm developed 1000 miles off the coast 90 years ago, no hurricane hunter plane would have been around to follow the satellite images and drop in sensitive recording equipment. When you see it’s the warmest day in a city since 1940, try to find out whether that was a similar up and down cycle. Just don’t think you’re poking holes in the theory because baby it’s cold outside.
THIS: Hollywood stars and sports stars should keep their political opinions to themselves.
STOP IT! Because what you usually mean is you hate when celebrities pipe off and disagree with your position. If a star football player is appearing on the campaign trail with the candidate of your choice, does it irritate you? When a Hollywood star is giving an interview and echoes your thoughts on education reform, do you yell at your TV for him to keep his opinions to himself?
Sean Hannity’s a particular fan of this one. Segments can be summed up as “and that’s why this musician should keep her mouth shut and stick to music. Coming up, my special interview with Jon Voight!”
THIS: What do I think of gay marriage? The government should get out of the marriage business! I don’t think the government should have anything to do with defining what a marriage is.
STOP IT! Government MUST come down somewhere on this.
In a couple of months we’ll all be corresponding with the nice people at the Infernal Revenue Service. At the top they’ll ask if you’re single, married filing jointly or married filing separately. But even if you completely change the tax code you still aren’t “out of the business”.
Like it or not, there are more than 4 million people who call the U.S. government their employer. Add to that retired personnel, state and municipal workers, etc. The nation’s largest employer has to set policy for its own workers. Who’s covered on that federale‘s health plan? Who can be named that worker’s insurance beneficiary? You can’t “not say”.
Add to that cases like the New Mexico wedding photography studio that was sued because they chose not to work a same-sex wedding. Saying government can not define marriage just signals that you haven’t thought through the situation. It’s equivalent to sticking your fingers in your ears with a rousing chorus of that old timey hit “La la la la I’m not listening.”
What are some political expressions you’d like to see relegated to the discount rack next to copies of Nicolas Cage’s Left Behind?