As 2014 dawns, here’s a list of some expressions you can help by leaving in 2013 alongside the unfortunately indelible memory of “twerking”.
THIS: “Well at least he did something. He should get credit for doing something about the issue.”
STOP IT! Making a situation worse isn’t virtuous. There’s no merit in screwing up where a problem exists. Elected officials try to address issues. That they address an issue isn’t enough to get a medal and a cookie, if their efforts don’t improve the situation.
THIS: “We shouldn’t regulate what you do in the confines of your own home.”
STOP IT! On its face, this sounds like a nice libertarian, constitutionalist approach. A man’s home is his castle. But if you’ll excuse a bit of extremity to prove a point — in 2013 we saw Ariel Castro arrested for the unfathomable crime of keeping three women prisoner in his house for more than 10 years, regularly abusing them. Certainly no one supports this heinous behavior.
What you generally mean is “We shouldn’t regulate what you do in the confines of your own home… so long as it doesn’t negatively impact someone else or infringe on their own rights, or generally run afoul of certain minimal moral standards.” But this is a bit more unwieldy and not nearly as sexy.
THIS: “I don’t care if you’re white or black or purple or blue or green.”
STOP IT! Besides being cliche and trite, this just introduces an element of absurdity into the conversation. What you mean is “I’m not going to make a conclusion based solely on race”, which is fine… but if that’s what you mean just say that and skip the tired, silly illustration. Besides, if you really ran into a green person, would you really think “Hmm I wonder what that person’s tax bracket and political affiliation are?”
Or would you think “Holy crap that person is GREEN!”?
THIS: “He’s not a real Republican because x.”
STOP IT! Unless x is something like “He isn’t registered to vote.” or “He gives tons of money to Democrat candidates and causes”, there’s almost no single thing that makes someone not a Republican. Any party, to be successful, has to have a certain amount of diversity in order to achieve any level of success.
Now, surely you can say “He’s not a real Republican because x, y, z… and also a, b and c when it’s convenient”. Especially when talking about Charlie Crist.
There’s a certain sense of righteous indignation that comes into play in politics, especially at the grassroots… but the downfall of repeatedly drawing lines in the sand and taking an “us vs. them” outlook is you’re by definition decreasing your numbers. Which isn’t advisable in a numbers game.
THIS: “Hispanics will…”
STOP IT! There are more than 53 million Hispanics in the United States. They speak Spanish at home, except for the ones that don’t. They came to this country for economic reasons… unless of course they came for political reasons or academics or are 2nd or 3rd generation Americans and didn’t immigrate at all. They can be safely assumed to be between the age of newborn and about 100 years old. Their heritage is from either some of the poorest countries in the Western hemisphere, some of the most affluent, or somewhere in between.
What will Hispanics do? They’ll probably be breathing and sleeping and waking up and eating (some damned tasty food). They’re probably also going to be concerned about providing for themselves, and maybe for their families… ya know, that might be a good place to start.
What expressions do you want to hear be left behind Blurred Lines?