Monday, April 26, 2010
Jean-Jacques Rousseau once wrote in a letter: "Learn my dictionary, my good friend, if you want to have us understand each other. Believe me, my terms rarely have the ordinary sense."
Throughout history, great thinkers and leaders almost invariably develop their own idiomatic and peculiar ways of conversing. Essentially, they develop their own languages. Words acquire new definitions when these historical giants use them. "Worker" takes on a new meaning when uttered by Karl Marx. "Peace" meant something different to Woodrow Wilson than it did to Kaiser Wilhelm. Thomas Paine's usage of the word "liberty" is stronger than almost anyone else's.
Barack too, has his own definitions for the words he chooses to use. And here I'll humbly attempt to catalog some of them. Although admittedly, I am insufficiently intelligent to truly understand the Barackish language. And so I apologize for my omissions and potential errors. Without further preamble, the meaning of certain terms, according to Barack:
Bipartisanship (noun): when Republicans agree with my policies, and I get to do whatever I want to do
Partisan politics (noun): when Republicans disagree with my policies, and I don't get to do whatever I want to do. I have to debate things :-(
Unity (noun): when everyone in Washington follows my lead
Vitriolic (adj): the manner by which anyone who disagrees with me expresses that disagreement
Look... (verb, used at the beginning of sentences as a command): a warning that I'm about to tell you something you were too stupid to previously know. Example: "Look. You know, what we've done has been successful throughout. I mean, it's not like I've been winning in states that only have either black voters or Chablis-drinking, you know, limousine liberals. I mean, we've been winning in places like Idaho. We've been winning in places like Colorado."
China (noun): an ATM
Town Hall (noun):
1. Before healthcare reform rabble: a forum for the Democrats and I to listen to concerned citizens voice their opinions about healthcare reform.
2. After healthcare reform rabble: an opportunity to paint all conservatives as ignorant and/or racist.
Racist (noun): a Tea Party member
Reform (noun): Always a good thing so long as it's my kind of reform
George W. Bush (noun): The cause of all your problems, and all the debt we're in
This one's my favorite...
Debt (noun): A way to get out of debt
Iraq (noun): A remote corner of the world where we once sent soldiers to fight for obscure, abstract, and wholly unattainable goals. But that was wrong.
Afghanistan (noun): A remote corner of the world where we still send soldiers to fight for obscure, abstract, and wholly unattainable goals. But this is right.
Surge (verb/noun): To increase the amount of US soldiers in a foreign country's war, a good way to seem tough on America's enemies while also winning the Nobel Peace Prize because "surge" sounds better than "escalation"
US soldier's casket (noun): Photo op
Gay rights (noun): The right to file joint tax returns, or visit a partner in a hospital (mention that a lot), but NOT to get married (avoid mentioning that)
Smoking (noun): an activity I may or may not still do
Public support (noun): A nice thing to have, but not necessary when signing massive legislation like healthcare reform
Wall Street (noun): where evil and greed originate, where greedy bankers want to get paid tons of money for their easy, white-collar work
Main Street (noun): where wholesomeness and kindness originate, where non-greedy people want something for nothing, and they deserve it!
Journalist (noun): Someone who works in the media and also agrees with me
Non-journalist (noun): Fox News, or anyone else that dare questions my glory
Franklin D. Roosevelt (noun): God
Hope (noun): something I give everyday to the American people, whether they want it or not
Sanctions (noun): a strategy that almost always works to curb the threat posed by maniacal despotic states
Nuclear Security Summit (noun): what will win me Nobel Prize #2 because we talked a great deal about talking
Economy (noun): something the Government should control
Your life (noun): something people should control, unless they disagree with me, which more and more people seem to be doing. But in the event of disagreement, the Government should control this.