A few words we all should ban

Published 4:34 pm Saturday, March 28, 2009

The politically correct types have now determined that we should not use the word “terrorist” for middle-Eastern types who blow up buildings and chop off the heads of journalists.

I have a little trouble following the logic of banning words from our vocabulary, unless the theory is that if we don’t talk about them they will go away.

If I thought that would work, of course, I can think of a multitude of words I would drop from my vocabulary – or perhaps change the meaning of – immediately.

Let’s all change the word “summer” to “winter” and see if it changes the way July and August feel.

Or, do you suppose if we quit saying “illegitimate” that men and women would stop having sex outside of marriage?

How about “rape” or “pedophilia”?

Let’s drop the word “hurricane”, too. Having been privileged to enjoy a couple of those in my lifetime, I can tell you I did not enjoy sitting in my un-air-conditioned office or home or working with a generator humming in the background or dodging downed power lines and trees. I’d just as soon not repeat that experience.

The same folks who are teaching us not to say “terrorist” also oppose the use of the phrase “illegal immigrant.”

But if we follow the concept that if we don’t label it, maybe it won’t happen, aren’t we simply sticking our heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich?

Terrorism is either number one or number two on the list of threats to the United States, depending on to whom you are listening. Do we honestly believe that not saying the word is going to make us any safer? That not saying the word will actually change the reality?

On the other hand, on the off chance that the “Do away with the word” theory might work, I’ve come up with my own list: disease, starvation, injury, wreck, mosquitoes, heart attack, cancer, bills, overdraft, power outage, drown, argument, constipation, garbage day, insomnia, hurt, diet, and fat.

I’m going to conduct my own experiment. I’m going to spend a whole week not saying a one of those words and see if my life changes.

If it works, I guess I’ll be ready to run for elective office! I know I’ll win, because I simply won’t say the word “lose.”

David Sullens is president of Roanoke-Chowan Publications and publisher of the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald and the Gates County Index.