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Please…Change the Script!
by Sean Turner
13 January 2004

Here is a brief list of terms and phrases that have become so pervasive (and annoying), that most fail to recognize how meaningless and/or stupid they really are.


Last month was a refreshing one for me.  A brief respite from writing, politics, news, and even sports (for the most part), was just what the doctor ordered – as the saying goes.  It gave me an opportunity to sit back and enjoy what is most important to me – that being my family.  It is often easy to neglect those closest to us, as we take comfort believing that they will always be there regardless.  Of course, time and experience have a funny (and not so funny) way of reminding us that this is not always the case.

After a few weeks of negligible television watching, and infrequent “narrowly tailored” (more on this phrase later) Internet surfing for news, I became anxious to see what I had been missing during my detachment from current affairs.  What I quickly realized was that I missed little to nothing – save the same stupidity from the same clueless people.  It was as if I had been watching a daytime soap opera for years, missed a month, and picked up right where I left off without missing a beat. 

Nevertheless, having once again fully immersed myself in the affairs of the world, the first thing that has succeeded in annoying me, is the bombardment of hackneyed phrases and shibboleths that have little or no meaning or importance.  So, for your reading pleasure, I will now present a brief list of terms and phrases that have become so pervasive (and annoying), that most fail to recognize how meaningless and/or stupid they really are:

African-American – What exactly is this, and whom does it describe?  Someone makes up a name for me, and I’m supposed to accept it?  Last time I checked, I was born in America; as were my parents, grandparents, and at least a two more generations before that.  Beyond that, I don’t know where my family came from.  Sure, it is likely that my not too distant ancestry has its roots in Africa, but ultimately everyone’s ancestry has its roots in Africa – which, by the way, is not the first name to be used to refer to that continent. 

Land of the Free – I don’t know about you, but anytime I see my paycheck, drive my car, file my tax returns, or participate in a host of activities, I am rudely reminded of how enslaved I am.  America is indeed a great country, and perhaps the most free of all.  However, as long as America remains a welfare state, whose government becomes increasingly coercive, it is not and never will be the “land of the free.”

War on Terror – Ah, the favorite phrase of many a politician, talk show host, and columnist in 2003.  Now almost as ubiquitous as the television, this phrase is intentionally vague and meaningless to justify in the minds of the masses the willful subversion of the U.S. Constitution to aggress against anyone deemed an “immediate threat.”  One need not look too far to find true “immediate threats.”

Narrowly tailored – Most recently made infamous in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the University of Michigan affirmative action cases in June of last year.  It is also being used in conjunction with arguments for and against same-sex marriages.  In laymen’s terms, it means that someone is desperately attempting to find (or create) a crack or hole in the Constitution or laws in order to implement or maintain an agenda.  These “narrowly tailored” actions offer no clarification or resolution to issues whose real solutions should be readily apparent – particularly in the cases of affirmative action and same-sex marriages.  And if you’ve read my previous articles, you know my positions on these two issues.

And last, but certainly not least…

Affirmative Action – The apparent brainchild of President Kennedy, it has become the source of such bitter debate and animosity on both sides of the issue.  No rational person can believe that arbitrary discrimination against one person for the sake of another, based on the actions of those in the past, is a good thing.  The only thing affirmative (i.e., true) about this action or policy is that it is discriminatory and benefits no one.  I’ll bet (not with real money though) that this phrase becomes akin to a curse word in a few more years.  I’ve already begun covering up my kids’ ears.

I realize this is a brief list, and I go on ad nauseam outlining various useless catch-phrases and memes.  Nevertheless, I’m still getting back into the swing of things, and I’m sure this year will offer much more to talk about.

Sean Turner is a regular columnist for RenewAmerica.us, GOPUSA.com, and MensNewsDaily.com, and has appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Washington Times.

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