March 28, 2002
A few of the "wars" we are fighting these days are the War
on Drugs; The "War" Against "Evil"; the War Against Dissent;
the War Against Free Speech.
But one "war" that goes unremarked today is the Vocabulary
War. And it's a war the rabid right-wingers are winning. Well,
they're winning it, so far, because normally the people who
start wars win them in the early days of those wars.
This is a serious war, and one we ought to fight.
For instance: The Right calls the Estate Tax the "Death Tax,"
which of course it is not; it is the Inheritance Tax. The
people who did not earn -- but have inherited -- the money
pay the tax. Get it?
Okay. The next war I think we need to be cognizant of is
the use of the word "Democrat" when the proper word is "Democratic."
Why?, you ask is that so darned important.
I'll tell you why.
The name of the political party is the Democratic Party,
not the Democrat Party. A person in the Democratic Party is
a Democrat. "Democrat" is a noun, not a modifier.
A few years back, some very clever right-wingers decided
to rename a political party that was not theirs to rename.
They liked, I guess, the sound of the last syllable: "rat."
They even used that syllable to great subliminal effect in
a commercial in the last presidential campaign. Remember "rat"
scrolling across the screen?
I think it sets right-wingers to hyperventilating when they
hear of "Democratic" bills being referred to, when they would
much prefer to hear them referred to as "Democrat" bills.
The correct usage of "Democratic" sounds like an endorsement
to them, I guess. They would much prefer the effect on the
mind when the last syllable is "rat"; that conveys their contempt
for those who sit to the left of the center aisle better than
the word "Democratic" does.
Eek, they shriek as they run from the word "Democratic" --
much as vampires shriek, "eek" when they see the sunlight.
It hurts their sensibilities.
So, let's not play their game; let's use the correct word:
Properly speaking, this is how it should go:
He or she is a Democrat, BUT all else is:
The Democratic Party
a Democratic bill
a Democratic governor
a Democratic Member of the House of Representatives
a Democratic president.
Which reminds me: How about a Democratic president in 2004?
Let's have a Democratic president, a president who believes
in (small "d") democratic principles?
Let's go team, and let's not let the rabid right-wingers
win this war to rename a distinguished political party. It
is the proud Democratic Party, and let's never forget it.