Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Terminology: the "Democrat Party"

One of the simplest ways to distinguish a rational conservative from a doctrinaire, rabidly politicized right winger is by the way they refer to the "enemy." Reasonable and respectful conservatives (who value good manners) refer to their adversaries as the "Democratic Party." For the others, the locution, inevitably, is the "Democrat Party." Since the 1940s, the noun to adjective transformation has been regarded as less-than-subtle-but-still-deniable slur by most observers — although when used by George W. Bush, it was widely regarded as an indication of semi-literacy. Much the same can be said for its use by Sarah Palin — but when used by John Boehner and Charles Grassley, idiocy is not a sufficiently viable excuse.

Far be it from me to maintain that the Democratic Party — much less the Republican Party — might in any way be truly small-d "democratic." They both could change their names to "the Plutocrat Party," thereby clearing up any remaining confusion and better satisfying truth-in-advertising regulations. Nevertheless, I have a suggestion for such Democrats who have adopted the term "Teabaggers," as well as others who still refrain from references to gay sexual tomfoolery in their policy statements.

I suggest the term, 'Publicans. I doubt that most rank-and-file right-wingers will associate the word with the owners and hosts of British taverns, since few are familiar with British English (and even some of their leaders continue to struggle with American English.) On the other hand, a great many social conservatives, at least, will know the word from their Bibles — where "publicans" refers to private contractors employed by the Roman Empire "who erected or maintained public buildings, supplied armies overseas, or collected certain taxes, particularly those supplying fluctuating amounts of revenue to the state." (Encyclopedia Britannica Online, 2008)

It fits. Dick Cheney and his sock puppet W went a long way towards the further privatization of war, not content with the vast size of the military-industrial complex they inherited from earlier administrations. Think of Xe (Blackwater). Think of Halliburton. Think of the privatized toll roads in states like Texas and Indiana. Think of the proposals to privatize Social Security.

Rome, you may recall, came to depend on an outsourced military — while entertaining the plebeian population with gladiatorial combat and FOX news — only to fall into chaos.

Okay, they didn't have FOX news, but I think you get the idea. Rome — replete with corruption, greed, and extreme sports — inevitably fell.

(Well, at least Rome provided bread along with the circuses. The 'Publicans think that's just a waste of good privatized wealth.)

No comments: