Wrong, Bad, and Evil

Words have meaning. Words have weight. When we speak, I think it is important that we choose our words wisely, not just to ensure accuracy, but to ensure the meaning isn’t altered when the words travel.

In politics a lot of people don’t consume information first hand. This is true in a lot of fields, but in politics it is exceptionally true.

If you disagree with your opponent, but you respect your opponent, the word used is “wrong”. They are “wrong”. Which means that they can probably be corrected.

When you disagree with your opponent, but you also don’t respect them or their position, the word used is “bad”.

When your opponent must be destroyed because there is no saving them, the word used is “evil”.

Somewhere along the way, the Republicans began describing their political rivals and the policies supported by them as “evil”. It probably began when they embraced the evangelicals. They needed to engage the fire and brimstone enthusiasm of their new constituents. But this literal demonization of their opponents has consequences. If you’re opponent is “evil” then negotiation and compromise are impossible. If you’ve branded your colleagues across the aisle as being in league with the devil, then how can you shake their hand?

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