Since being introduced to the Obama administration, new terms have come into existence and old terms are getting new definitions. Every time a new phrase, altered term or historical revision becomes public, I imagine Orwell’s Winston in his cubical at the Ministry of Truth pulling up old stories and “rectifying” them.
Some memorable acts of rectification are the Department of Homeland Security’s re-terming of acts of terrorism. It’s not terrorism, it’s a man-made disaster. This newspeak is well-demonstrated in speeches and official forms such as the DHS’ “Business Emergency Plan“:
The following natural and man-made disasters could impact our business:○ We have developed these plans in collaboration with neighboring businesses and building owners to avoidconfusion or gridlock○ We have located, copied and posted building and site maps.○ Exits are clearly marked.○ We will practice evacuation procedures ____ times a year.
In early 2009, Obama felt it necessary to revise the term that describes military actions taken since 9-11. The administration ordered an end to the use of the phrase “Global War on Terror” and demanded the substitution of the now infamous “Overseas Contingency Operation”. Supposedly this new terminology clarifies our recent military actions. The administration tried to make it’s case by pointing out that you can’t have a war against terror because terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy. No wonder our foreign and domestic policies are a mess, just the names of these policies and actions makes no sense – the content of them is doomed.
The next cleaning-up of the American vocabulary was about those persons captured on the field of battle: Enemy Combatants. No more are they enemies or combative, they are simply detainees – fairly sterile. But – isn’t that the point?
Most recently we have Obama’s switch to the phrase “freedom of worship” in place of “freedom of religion”. During the President’s 2009 global apology tour he used the correct phrase, but lately worship has been the go to freedom. Is it that important? A post at FirstThings makes the case:
The reason is simple. Any person of faith knows that religious exercise is about a lot more than freedom of worship. It’s about the right to dress according to one’s religious dictates, to preach openly, to evangelize, to engage in the public square. Everyone knows that religious Jews keep kosher, religious Quakers don’t go to war, and religious Muslim women wear headscarves—yet “freedom of worship” would protect none of these acts of faith.
How about the terms that just seemed to have disappeared?
- Islamic extremist
- Islamic radical
- Militant Islam
The cleansing of American verbiage has a single focus – the defense of Islam. Notice that there has been no new term created for oil spills, bailouts, unemployment, Russian spies, or anything else that has no ties to Islamic nations or groups. Every newspeak term or revisionist re-definition is of or relating to Islamofascism. If Americans stay upset over 9-11, Iran’s nukes, and continuing hate speech by Islamic leaders here and abroad, there is no way Obama can make their extremist views palatable to the American public. If nothing else, he’s managed to replace the Jewish voters he’s lost due to his constant insults to Israel with a much more progressive constituency.