Language is a powerful tool. Feminists learned this early on…when we always refer to people with masculine nouns like “mankind,” we forget that women and girls are an integral part. Refer to an individual as “he” and a man or boy image pops in the brain. “Chairman,” and people are more likely to nominate a man.
Language reflects our thoughts, but also more importantly creates our thoughts as well.
People in power have learned this, and use it to influence our thinking, and too much of the media is playing right along.
- We are "in danger of Obamacare bankrupting the country” BUT “We put our soldiers in harm’s way.”
- “We murder unborn children.” BUT “The drone bombings unfortunately and occasionally result in the deaths of non-combatants.”
- “Illegal immigrant children are crashing our borders.” BUT “refugees are fleeing the Al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq.”
- “Terrorists bomb the US embassy in Benghazi.” BUT “Non-military installations have been hit in the Israeli air raids.”
- “The unconstitutionally elected president Daniel Ortega…” BUT “the former president of Honduras, Manual Zelaya, who was removed from office…”.
people’s emotions while the media at large and the government use language to let itself and those countries and factions we support get away with murder…literally.
When did real, physical danger become “in harm’s way”? When the government wanted to soften, yet not completely dismiss, the soldier's reality.
When did women, children, old people…innocents…become “non-combatants”? When the media did not want us to see or imagine the people who have done nothing but be in the wrong place at the wrong time and get blown to bits.
When did children fleeing violence, gangs, and death squads become “illegal immigrants” while other children fleeing violence, gangs, and militias become “refugees fleeing terrorists”? When those corrupt governments are the ones we prop up, and no one wants U.S. citizens to think about the reason that desperate parents would send their precious ones far away.
When did hospitals, schools, and people’s homes – poor as they are – become “non-military installations”? When people of power do not want us to imagine what it would be like to be stuck in a hospital with injuries resulting from your home being bombed during supper and have another bomb hit the hospital…that sounds like something that evil people would do.
Why wasn't President Zelaya always referred to as “the coup-deposed president” and why isn't Honduras called “the land of death squads, gangs, and terrorists" since the 2009 coup? Because the US backed that coup and does not want to call attention to the mess it has created. YET. AGAIN.
We need to start using “true language” and demanding of our media and government that they use true language, and quit softening the impact of horror and violence.
When I was in young I saw on the nightly news horrors of the Vietnam War…I saw children firebombed. I saw mothers weeping for their lost children. I saw coffin after coffin come home and I grew to be anti-war…and THAT is why we never see or hear reality now, because there are enough people who are basically good and if they see and hear the truth they will say “NO. MORE.”
Frankly, the government and those who own the media know that and are afraid.