The Trump Effect: When Words Don’t Matter Anymore

The Trump Effect: When Words Don’t Matter Anymore

Maybe it’s just the discontented state I find myself in, but it seems this election cycle has been substantially worse than past seasons when it comes to reciting inflammatory buzz words without bothering to acknowledge whether the phrase is even relevant or appropriate.

Unsurprisingly, it appears Trump is always at the forefront of these meaningless insinuations. Now we’re all Americans and I suppose we all have the freedom to be lazy and careless with our words, but to what end?

Take the word “establishment,” for instance.  It’s arguably one of the “dirtiest words” in modern day politics, eliciting a negative response from most Americans, both conservatives and liberals.

The Trump camp has taken hold of that word, set it on fire, and rendered it completely useless for anyone else who may want to use it at any time in the foreseeable future.  The way the term “establishment” has been thrown around this election season by Donald Trump and his rabid followers is totally ignorant at best, completely disingenuous at worst.

According to Trump, anyone who has ever been involved in politics can now be labeled “establishment.”  The only true outsider is one who has never held public office, even if he’s spent a lifetime funding and working alongside those “establishment” politicians.

No.  That’s clearly not what “establishment” means.  Words matter.

Lately all we’ve heard since Ted Cruz outsmarted Trump in Colorado is that our system is “rigged.”   Calling it “rigged” would insinuate there was deception or dishonesty occurring, since the definition of “rig” means “to manipulate or control usually by deceptive or dishonest means.”  I’d say it’s pretty impossible to “rig” something when the rules are plainly laid out for all candidates, who can then strategize as they see fit within the scope of those rules.  I have yet to see any evidence that a candidate was deceptive or dishonest in their delegate strategy, or that anyone manipulated the system somehow.

Calling the system “rigged” because your opponent outplayed you is like saying a football game is “rigged” because the other team won at the last second on a 2 point conversion play.  Because why do they even allow 2 point conversions?  Doesn’t the NFL know that rule could change the entire outcome of the game?  Teams are only supposed to kick a PAT because it’s the usual play, not strategize accordingly in order to win.  Rigged.

Stupid, right?

Considering Trump admitted months ago that he “never realized” the importance of having a ground game, it’s a fair conclusion that he has known for a while now that the delegate selection game is a factor in a presidential race and yet arrogantly chose to do nothing about it.

But he uses words like “rigged” and “corrupt,” and his base goes nuts.  Why? Critical thinking skills are key here.  It’s just not accurate.  Words matter.

And arguably the most inflammatory term misused so far this election cycle?  “Gestapo tactics.”  The Gestapo was responsible for millions of deaths during the reign of the Nazi party.  Yet the Trump campaign continues to double down on the use of that phrase, with their spokeswoman stating that “it is a word to define exactly the type of malice that is involved with going after some of these delegates in a very hostile and intimidating way.”

Hey, call me crazy, but I have an idea for some words that could be used to describe something someone may think involves malice, hostility, and intimidation.  The actual words “malice,” “hostility,” and “intimidation.”

Well, it isn’t as provocative.  And still, the argument could be made that those words above would still be used inappropriately since there has been no evidence of intimidation tactics.  But we certainly can’t take one phrase and use it to define a completely different one.  That isn’t how language works.

It is pure rabble-rousing, and worse, under repeated false premises.  Use critical thinking skills.  Crack open a dictionary.  Google.  Do these things before parroting something inflammatory someone said on TV.  Words matter.  Or at least they should, to honest people.

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