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Government by Euphemism

  • November 29, -0001
What an odd name for a legislative procedure that promises to alienate Republicans and Democrats even more than at present and drive the wedge between Congress and the White House even deeper into the wood of government: Reconciliation? Not to mention the way this maneuver, if it succeeds, will further infuriate the Tea Party crowd. About the only thing reconciliation will reconcile is Democratic politicians to their settled ideals.

But then a lot of government is like that, isn't it? Lawmakers are astute at determining which words "work best" with the majority of the people, and then using those words to cloak policies which have only their own political interests and tenures in mind. Then there's the matter of what such euphemisms say to the electorate about how our elected officials think about us: they'll believe whatever we tell them, as long as it sounds good. Read: superficial, uninformed, unthoughtful, gullible, self-interested.

The present political atmosphere requires Americans to navigate through the fog of euphemism to discern the true nature of what's being proposed. And, alas, that means reading and conversation - two skills with which American Christians, in particular, are unskilled and unaccustomed. I check the websites for which I write from time to time to see if there are any responses to which I ought to reply. Normally, not more than a handful of folks have left a comment, and many of those are, to be frank, rather self-serving.

On the other hand, I visited the website of a well-known secular journal of culture and the arts because I wanted to leave a comment on an article I had read in the journal. I had to get in line. By the time I reached the site - the day I received the journal in the mail - already 243 people had responded, many in long missives, and an active dialog was underway between respondents.

They who prefer television to reading will always be susceptible to manipulation by politicians skilled in the art of euphemism. And they who are loathe to discuss matters of politics, culture, and morality with their families and neighbors will not have developed the skills of reason and persuasion essential to formulating sound judgments and changing others' minds. But that's precisely where most members of the Christian community are at present.

Peter's exhortation to "gird up your minds for action" comes to mind (1 Pet. 1.13). I wonder how many Christians have read that verse without ever stopping to think that perhaps it was addressed to them? To you?

T. M. Moore
T. M. Moore

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