~a column by Colleen O’Brien

A note from the columnist – It’s difficult to keep up with the goings-on from on high, especially if one wants to write about it. As soon as I sent this manuscript in, it was out of date. Consider it a historical column. COB

Now that we are in the middle of making America great again, isn’t it a relief that the President knows how to talk to the boys, the Boy Scouts of America, that is: “Who the hell….” he started out, in addressing thousands of them at their annual jamboree. However much the parents and Scout leaders did not approve, the boys had to love it, the word “hell.”

Boys of a certain age like to test the waters of adulthood with words their mothers told them not to use. And then to hear the speaker, the President of their country, ramble about a rich guy on a yacht but not revealing the whole story “because you’re Boy Scouts, so I’m not going to tell you what he did.” Gosh, imaginations running wild.
I’m sure this man, proudly removed from the commonness of decent folks and the decency of common folks, thinks this is how Boy Scouts talk when not at a Boy Scout meeting.

We are also reaping the benefits of the language usage of his newly appointed White House communications director, happily calling himself a mooch. On the record to a reporter for The New Yorker magazine, the Mooch was able to introduce us to language precise enough to him to describe things he’s going to do to somebody; or was it what that somebody was going to do to himself? (You can look it up in The New Yorker online.) What is a communicator for if not to communicate words and phrases perhaps common to Wall Street that he and other folks in the White House’s Goldman Sachs cabinet understand as communication? We can all learn from what must be rich-guy talk.

It is a struggle keeping up, however. I think we should let the alt-right media, also known as the I-Love-Him-No-Matter-What-He-Does press, continue reporting on the tweets, the asides, the beginnings, middles and ends of the bunches of words called speeches, the secretive get-togethers, the adept lying and subtle almost-lying (the new norm of making things great again), and let the mainstream press double down on what’s going on that actually affects us. This might be boring, but genuine reporting is the ticket to making America great again. And even saving democracy.

There are reporters aplenty to cover the not quite titillating news stories as opposed to the yellow journalism that can continue to expose what was once known as gutter language stories. The important stories cover the honored Exxon friend of Russia, $245 million Rex Tillerson at the head of the State Department; the often uninformed $5.4 billion Betsy DeVos at the head of the Department of Education; the getting-even decisions of the near poverty-level $1 to $5 million Scott Pruitt at the head of the Environmental Protection Agency; the perhaps gone by now cabinet member, $3 billion Jefferson Sessions at the head of the Justice Department.

We are blinded by the smoke screen of poor language, bad language, obfuscating language, mean-spirited language as well as by the bluster, angry-bird behavior and prevaricating of the many who in pretending to cover the administration simply cover for them. I figure I’m about as impressed as I’m ever going to get, so I’m happy to leave the alt people making things up in the swamp they swore to drain, and the mainstreamers can tell us in big headlines what’s happening to our democracy, our compassion, our sense of right and wrong, our history of at least attempting to get it right in the face of greed, prejudice and fear that overtakes some of humankind. We’re getting a little confused with the “what the hell,” make America great messages to our boy scouts, our soldiers, our people of color, our used-to-be allies, our uninsured and soon-to-be uninsured, our females of all races.

I think the mainstream press is our best shot at making America decent again. We are a competitive nation, so go for it, boys and girls who graduated from journalism schools eager to protect the country from power sneaking around behind our backs; no more tiptoeing around just because one of the two candidates very weirdly squeaked in to become President.

The language has deteriorated, the bullying has become serious and is spreading throughout the general populace, the only directive from the top is to cut any regulation that might help the poor and middle classes. Most of us in the country are in the direct crosshairs of a leader who thinks it clever to say, “We’ll let Obamacare fail.” That’s the meanest thing I’ve heard lately, but I understand that a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. He is an important fellow, as well as self-important. And he doesn’t need to care how sick unto death some of us will get before he gets to say he fulfilled a campaign promise.

I, however, cannot seem to help myself from being simply sickened by an administration that doesn’t know the importance of words. “Make America great again” is a sly lie. This phrase was coined by the leader, and it has led to my word of the day – ickiness — trickling down from the highest position in the land.




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