On Re-defining Language …

Way back in the first days of Trump’s administration, Kellyanne Conway said that there can be ‘alternative facts’.  Trump and then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer made wild and visually-disputable claims that the crowd at Trump’s inauguration was ‘the largest ever’, and even ‘larger than Obama’s’, neither of which were even remotely true.  When questions, Kellyanne said, “Well, you know, there can be alternative facts”.  No, Kellyanne, there cannot, for facts are proven and undisputable.  Nonetheless, alternative facts became the norm in the Trump administration, although most of us have another name for them:  lies.

Not only did Trump and his minions hold tight to the use of alternative facts, but they took it a step further and began to re-define various words.  ‘Good’, for example, when used by a trumpeter, can generally be assumed to have the opposite meaning.  When a republican lawmaker says he supports something, such as healthcare protections, it generally means he voted to gut ACA.  And the list goes on.

Last Monday, Trump took on the definitions of two more words:  globalist and nationalist.

“Radical Democrats want to turn back the clock. Restore the rule of corrupt, power-hungry globalists. You know what a globalist is, right? A globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly not caring about our country so much. And, you know what? We can’t have that.”

“You know, they have a word, it sort of became old-fashioned. It’s called a nationalist. And I say, ‘Really? We’re not supposed to use that word,’ You know what I am? I’m a nationalist. OK? I’m a nationalist. Use that word. Use that word.”

According to Merriam-Webster …

Definition of nationalism

1 : loyalty and devotion to a nation

especially : a sense of national consciousness (see CONSCIOUSNESS sense 1c) exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups

Intense nationalism was one of the causes of the war.

Throughout history, words have evolved, and while there is nothing sinister about the first part of this definition, “loyalty and devotion to a nation”, the rest of the definition brings on images of jackboots on cobblestones.  It dates back to the 17th century and rose into prominence during the uprisings in the 18th century that produced the American and French revolutions. But the word attained even more of a negative connotation during the 20th century as it become associated with the nationalism movements in Europe that helped lead to World War I and World War II. Today the word is often associated with the far-right, racist ideologies of white nationalists.

Nationalism has been on the rise worldwide, as evidenced by the success of nationalist political parties in Europe. And it had a double bang in 2016, as it powered Brexit in the UK and the election of Trump as US President. Steve Bannon, Trump’s former top strategist, said Trump used an “economic nationalist agenda” to win.

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘globalism’ …

A person who advocates the interpretation or planning of economic and foreign policy in relation to events and developments throughout the world.

Trade, protection, the environment … these are all issues that require global cooperation.  Remember 11 September 2001?  U.S. airspace was shut down, yet there were incoming planes filled with people with nowhere to go.  What happened?  Our friends the Canadians opened their airports, as well as their homes and their hearts, let our planes land, took stranded passengers into their homes, fed them … this is part of what globalism is about … see anything evil in that?

Trump has now declared that he is against globalism and is a nationalist, yet the majority of the people in this nation do not want to be an isolationist nation for we see the very real dangers.  We need our friends around the globe, just as they need us, and Mr. Trump has it all wrong … ALL WRONG … if he thinks that shunning other nations makes us safer, for in every sense of the word, it endangers our lives.

Further, Mr. Trump seems to be playing to the white supremacist arm of nationalists who eschew any who are not white, Christian, and of European descent.  Hence, his desire for a wall to keep Hispanics from Mexico, Central and South America out of our country.  Hence, his stepped-up deportations of even legal immigrants.  Hence, his aversion to immigrants from the Middle East.

The United States will not survive as an independent nation if we shut ourselves off from international affairs.  Technology has made the planet smaller and in today’s world, no nation can thrive without the help of others.  Trump would lead us down a path of certain destruction, given his way.  He is wrong, but sadly there are those who do not understand such things as trade, the environment, national debt, and global cooperation.  Nor do they care to take the time to educate themselves.  It is time to put the brakes on Trump’s out-of-control train, and the only way to do that is to vote the republicans out of Congress, for they have proven for the past two years that they will give him free rein.  Trump and this 115th Congress have done much damage, some that will take decades to repair, but the real nightmare comes with what could be done in another two years of an unchecked madman at that helm.

26 thoughts on “On Re-defining Language …

  1. But, meanwhile, I have a word I would like to change the meaning of: spirituality. I would like to remove religious overtones, and images of ghosts and goblins, and voodoo practices, and use the word for the connection of all living beings to all other living beings. That is the way I use the word spirituality, and giving it this meaning might help everyone to understand that no one is alone, that no one is more important or less important than anyone else. My brand of spirituality combines life to life. That I think could be a great power in this world!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am 100% in agreement with you. I have always used the word similarly to you, only I think of it as connection with all of nature, but since that includes all living beings, it is similar. Adding a religious connotation makes it, in my book, suddenly something ugly and vulgar.

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  2. Imagine a breakfast table without coffee, or bananas. Imagine an economy with oil and gas to provide transportation, and using coal engines to power trains coast to coast. Imagine no hydroelectric power, or clean drinking water. or softwood building products. That is what Trump wants, except he hasn’t thought things through. Yeah, let him be anti-globalist, and nationalist. And then see what his base thinks of him. Methinks they will not like it…

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  3. Jill, and Vladimir Putin and Xi Jingpeng smiled. Putin has effectively persuaded America to elect a man ego will willingly cede its strengths, without firing one shot. The retrenchment that Trump advocates will accelerate an ascendant China.

    America’s strengths, per an EU diplomat, are its global relationships, dilplomatic depth and military. The US President is throwing the first two out the window. As we have discussed, historians will look back and refer to this period when America ceded its global leadership. I cannot emphasize how poor this decision is. Of course, his followers will buy this horse maneuer he is espousing, Keith

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    • You are so right … I’m sure Putin and Xi are thrilled with Trump and the results he has gotten. Just before he took office, I said that if we could impeach him and get him out in the first year, perhaps any damage might be easily repaired, but that the longer he stayed, the longer it would take to reverse the harm he caused. I believe we have waited too long to take the trash out and some of his policies will have everlasting damage, while others may only take 30-40 years to fix. Either way, you are right … he handed over the keys to the castle early on.

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      • Jill, what many Democrats, Independents, and disillusioned Republicans know, retrenching from global leadership is the opposite of what we should be doing. It is not ironic, yesterday Germany, France, Turkey and Russia were talking about ending the fighting in Syria. And, the TPP was renamed and signed by everyone in the initial agreement, but one who pulled out. There is a noticeable absence in these equations. Keith

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        • Rather like kids on a playground, if one kid doesn’t want to play nice, the others will simply exclude him. Life doesn’t end just because Donnie Trump thinks he is better than the rest. But the sad fact is that we need those others, we need to be included in trade and environmental agreements. It is no longer possible to sit in our own little corner while the rest of the world takes the bull by the horns.

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  4. “Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.” – Charles de Gaulle. I can think of no other words that better personify Trump and his embracement of being a nationalist. Thank-you!

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