Level of semantic hysteria ‘worst in history’

Last week former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, pronounced the Iraq War the “worst disaster in American history,” proving something that I’ve been suspecting for a long time: those darn Democrats sure love their superlatives.


It’s especially true this election season. You can’t turn on your radio or television without hearing some form of shrill grammatical extremism: Usually “never/always/most/worst” frequently followed by “in history.”


It figures. Immersed as we are in an election-year war of words, declaring something the “worst in history,” has so much more punch than just saying that it “needs improvement.”


Nobody mentions that all this hysteria going unchallenged could mean that the level of history knowledge in the United States may well be the worst in history.


Ironically, even as they swing wildly from one spurious semantic extreme to the next, Democrats still find time to accuse Republicans of scaring Americans into thinking that crazed religious fanatics want to kill us, because Republicans crave war more than anything – except maybe Wal-Mart hotdogs. (Republicans love Wal-Mart. They always pick a line with an overworked checker, always snarl about the delay, and always choose “no” when asked if the store was clean.)


Presidential candidate, Barack Obama, announces every hour that the War on Terror is a Republican delusion, cleverly designed to keep Americans from noticing the truly dire problem that our country faces: five percent unemployment.


It seems to be working. Both Democratic presidential candidates are so adept at semantic extremism, that they have got a large percentage of Americans believing that the office of the presidency comes with supernatural powers.


Bush, they cleverly imply, could use that presidential power to end poverty, illness, and Cialis commercials; but being as he is the most sadistic president in history, he prefers to let those things continue. 


That is when Hillary angelically assures voters that she would use the presidential power to outlaw foreclosures, freeze interest rates, provide healthcare for all, and usher in a thousand years of peace.


If she is elected, I’m going to ask her to reverse the course of the Columbia River every year, so the salmon won’t have to work so hard to spawn.


Not to be left out, Barack Obama says he would use the power to implement what he calls “shared prosperity.”


Here’s how it works: He will require that America’s top wage earners, small business owners, and corporations:


  • Buy health insurance for everyone
  • Raise the minimum wage
  • Increase teacher’s salaries
  • Provide the “best education the country has to offer,” preschool through college, for all children
  • Always make payroll
  • Create more and more high-paying jobs
  • And never ever lay anyone off


Sounds great… except one thing bothers me. If it is so easy, surely someone has tried it before. But in order to know when, you’d have to know your history.


(This post was originally published on the Oregonian web site)

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