For the last 30 years we have heard or read millions of words on the wars on poverty, terrorism and women. One war that most people have not even noticed is the war on words…an insidious attempt to control the language and with it the thoughts, minds and lives of the American people.
Many age-old aphorisms have warned of the importance of a nation’s loss of its language and the true meaning of its words. Novelist Robert L. Stevenson (Kidnapped) proclaimed that words are power. George Orwell said that controlling language makes humans easy to control. His corollary to this appeared in his dystopian novel, 1984: Those who control the past control the future.
Of Orwellian proportions is the current war on words. Allegedly oppressed groups, such as women, Jews, blacks, gays and now Muslims have word shields that have protected them from any legitimate verbal or intellectual challenge.
Contrived words with little substance or literary value abound in our politically correct world. These heavy metal shields of verbal armor include Sexist, Anti-Semite, Racist, Homophobe and now Islamophobe.
These contrived words contain little substance but have a muscular power of their own. They act as the vanguard of the politics of personal destruction and their power grows exponentially in our schools, universities, businesses and even many of our churches.
Their very invocation quickly ends any attempt at fair and honest debate as to the merits of their programs, ideas, policies and moral vision. Unlike the old adage I learned as a child about sticks and stones, the hilariously old Geico Insurance commercial with the ill-fated lonely cowboy, these words can not only hurt you but destroy your careers, marriages and stain you with a secular guilt that no water or absolution will ever wash away.
Categorically, any word or idea that can offend anyone of these groups on the grounds of their integrity, history or culture is considered an irrational act that should warrant criminal status. Now an established cultural trait, their political thinking is reminiscent of the anti-intellectualism that has characterized the left for several generations.
The Catholic Church appears caught in the crosshairs of many of these groups for its attempts to support and buttress the remnants of the Western Civilization the Church has contributed to over the last 1500 years.
Jewish people don’t like our Gospel according to St. John because he warns of the fear of the Jews. Homosexuals feel uncomfortable in our churches because of our designation of their sexual proclivities as deviant and sinful. Women think they should be running the Church and ordained to our exclusively male priesthood. Muslims blame us for the Crusades, which to them were nothing more than Christian imperialism. They quickly forget that in the 8th century Jihad had brought their armies to the gates of Paris.
I foresee the day, already a reality in Canada, when a priest will be arrested for preaching against homosexuality or abortion. The day may already be here when any letter to the editor that does not laud these groups will never see the light of day. No religious person will be welcome on a college campus anywhere in America. They will have to shed their religious beliefs like toxic garments at the doors of political office.
This concerted attack on the language has also impacted American sports on virtually every level. Native Americans, who have become very influential in American culture, are its vanguard. A coterie has made it their main purpose to rid our sports culture of any mention of their warlike background. Their pride has blinded them to seeing that naming a sports team after the Braves or Indians is a cultural tribute, not a racial slur.
I still call them Indians, even though that was a Columbian misnomer but then so is their contrived substitute Native American. The American Indian migrated across the Bering Straits eons ago. They were just early immigrants to the vast land that became the Americas.
Literally dozens of professional, college and high school teams had lionized Indians by calling their teams, Indians, Warriors, Braves and so on. I challenge anyone to name one team that has chosen a name to denigrate its sports franchise. Even the Whittier College Poets, where President Richard Nixon sat on the football team bench, revered its namesake, James Greenleaf Whittier.
Virtually all derivations of Indian heritage have already been banished from the face of American life. I received a Masters Degree from St. John’s University when they were called the Redmen. I will admit that their new name The Red Storm is an attractive and reasonable substitute but the very fact that they had to be coerced into changing should alert all of us.
The last Indian mascot standing was the ill-fated North Dakota University Fighting Sioux. In use for over 70 years the name first came under fire in 1999 when the UND athletics program’s use of the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo was the subject of controversy and conflict within the NCAA.
While The Fighting Sioux had a brief reprieve in 2012 it has now been completely removed from the sports scene by the state and the race-conscious NCAA, which threatened them with expulsion from its collegiate sports ranks, should they stubbornly resist this coercive sociological change. The Fighting Sioux are now officially the Fighting Hawks.
As an aside is the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame University next on the politically correct hit list? Does not this age-old Catholic university mascot name, not paint all Irishmen as drunk and rowdy? Will they change to the Irish Diplomats or Galloping Gallics? Then there is my own Holy Cross Crusaders. I have seen the inoffensive term Knights starting to crop up in a few places. Will the Cross itself be the next to go?