Lenten Blog #16
I love words, research, and storytelling.
When I was a kid, finding definitions involved a physical and mental investment.
During homework, if we said, “Mom! What’s a _________?” Before we could even get the word out, mom, a fierce believer in fostering independence in each of us, would holler, “Look it up!”. Then the work began.
Finding the definition meant we had to get up from studying and lug the Big-Red-Webster-Dictionary to the kitchen table. Then we’d have to recall our dictionary skills and how to use the guide words at the top and flip through the thinnest paper ever invented to find the word. Researching was a workout too. It meant poring through our Big-Brown-Encyclopedias. They were like a tangible Google with gold letters on the spine and significant GIRTH.
Today, I can ask Google, Alexa or Siri facts and definitions, or I can sit and physically type words into the computer (exhausting. Ha.)
This week I was intrigued by certain verbiage which crept into the news. Although not complicated or extraneous, the words seemed to intertwine in an odd and sad way.
Words like bullying, prisoner of war, president, disparaging and Trump.
According to a story on NPR’s Morning Edition, Among False Claims, Trump Attacked McCain For Failing Veterans,Trump spoke about Senator McCain,
“I gave him [McCain] the kind of funeral that he wanted, which as president I had to approve…I don’t care about this. I didn’t get [a] thank you. That’s OK. We sent him on the way, but I wasn’t a fan of John McCain.”
In response to this statement, Georgia’s Johnny Isakson, chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee told Georgia Public Broadcasting,
“It’s deplorable what he said — it will be deplorable seven months from now, if he says it again, and I will continue to speak out…We’re all Americans. There aren’t Democratic casualties and Republican casualties on the battle field there are American casualties and we should never reduce the service that people give to this country.”
It broke my heart hearing such harsh words toward Senator McCain who passed away August 25, 2018. After all, he was a son, father, husband, soldier, public servant, prisoner of war and ultimately an American hero.
Unfortunately, when it comes to choosing words, our new normal seems to give the President carte blanche, no matter how cruel.
Our kids are teenagers now and very aware of the words they hear at school, in songs, on the internet, on the bus, and on the news. They are old enough to decide how they want to communicate and the words they will choose.
They always say the single lesson learned from our current president is what NOT to say.
Instead, as a family, we’ve decided to stay the course and share words like mercy, grace, and empathy. These are the words that matter. The words to live by and teach our children.
After listening to a podcast with my son about aspiring 2020 presidential candidates, he eloquently stated, “We need a change, someone who gets it. Something entirely new. A new voice.”
Now those are words worth listening to…
By the way, Here’s Trump. Defined.
According to vocabulary.com.
To trump is to outrank or defeat someone or something, often in a highly public way. … Originally trump implied a deceptive form of victory involving cheating, but that sense has been largely lost, though it’s still around in the term trumped up, meaning something that’s been falsely made up.