Pop culture, politics, and the thoughts that fall out of my head

Posts tagged ‘doublespeak’

Doublespeak and co-opting language

A GOP Congressional committee chairman (note for non-Americans, this would be the conservative party,) has called the payroll tax cut for working families, “Class war.”

Pardon me for a moment while my brain implodes from the sheer un-ironic hubris. Go read the article in the link while you wait.

Class war is a specific. It implies something that has meaning. I live in a country where the richest one per cent are lauded as the largest source of revenues. This is true in dollars, but in the percentage of income paid, they pay less than I do.

Granted, I usually end up tax exempt because I don’t actually make enough to pay taxes. The government then gives back the money it takes from me every payday.

Poverty, or a relative value of it, is something Americans know all too well in practice if not in label.

We have corporations that pay no tax at all, while receiving corporate welfare which means our tax dollars are spent buying elections because unlike citizens: corporations can spend unlimited money on elections.

Even if we had it to spend, most of us couldn’t, because we’d need to put it somewhere else.  Real life, unlike the corporate fantasy land that the US is fast becoming, isn’t so much a game of Monopoly on the ground level, as it is a slot machine.

The far right, the corporate right, is co-opting the language of activism. Class war is about oppression, and they are not oppressed, simply casting themselves as such in a narrative dominated by doublespeak.

“Pro-life,” is overwhelmingly owned by people who turn a fetus into a fetish, cheer at state-sanctioned murder, believe that everyone should have as many guns as they want, but that two people who love each other will burn in hell because they’re not heterosexual/normative. I’m painting in broad strokes here. There are plenty of people who say, “Pro-life,” and mean it: they believe abortion is wrong, the death penalty is wrong, war is wrong, and that providing basic needs, education and opportunity for all people is a mission. I may disagree with them on focusing on the fetus rather than the rights of the human being that fetus is dependent on, but it’s at least a consistent point of view.

The Tea Party shouts about the Constitution without having read it. They rail against government-run healthcare with the slogans, “Keep your government hands off my medicare.” They shout about freeloaders and welfare queens while receiving disability and food stamps.

Recently, Mother Jones’ posted that two-thirds of Fox News viewers think that discrimination against whites was as much of a problem as discrimination against minority groups.

Let that sink in.

Since 2008, the, “Birther,” contingent have insisted that President Obama was not born in the United States despite all evidence to the contrary. Even Donald Trump got in on the act while trying to generate publicity for himself.

Google the statistics for poverty, incarceration, infant mortality, education and tell me that whites have it so bad. We’re so oppressed because we’re white, aren’t we? (She said with a brittle smile, around a clenched jaw.)

The far right is co-opting language and re-coding it for a feudal system, re-coding it for racist rhetoric, re-coding it to silence the masses.

To put it bluntly: they’re lying through their teeth.

I don’t believe that doublespeak helps anyone. White is not black, day is not night, poor is not rich, rich is not poor, privileged is not oppressed, oppressed is not oppressing, war is not peace.

That they are doing this says that they are well aware to whom they are speaking and what message they are conveying.

They are speaking to corporations that are not existing in a free market of capitalistic principles. Corporations are the biggest mouth at the government teat. If we lived in a free market, most of them would be out of business or they’d have to adopt better, more efficient, service-oriented, customer-oriented practices. Government subsidies allow them to price gouge, abuse customers and bails them out when they can’t pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.

Banks are too big to fail, people aren’t.

They are speaking to bigots who cannot comprehend a world where they and their brethren are not in power. The zealots, the fanatics, the disgruntled are their audience. Those who dream of a day when they will wear the boot on someone’s neck, while they put their neck under the boot of a system that does not serve them.

I believe in a loyal opposition, but we  hear secession passed off as simply a different kind of patriotism.

We hear lies spoken as if they were true.

We are through the looking-glass, and I wonder if we’ll ever get back. As long as the co-opting of language and doublespeak persists, I’m doubtful of the prospects of reason.

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