Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Some Dictionary Words for Your Edification

Consider the definition of the word hyperbole:

A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect, as in I could sleep for a year or This book weighs a ton.

And now this one, for the word demagoguery:

n : impassioned appeals to the prejudices and emotions of the populace [syn: demagogy]

Now, consider this story:

Speaking at an event in Harlem honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., the senator said the GOP-controlled House of Representatives "has been run like a plantation, and you know what I'm talking about. It has been run in a way so that nobody with a contrary view has had a chance to present legislation, to make an argument, to be heard."

Source: Newsday

OK. First off, as I hope the above definitions will help to illustrate, Clinton's remarks above were at best hyperbole, and at worst, crude and brutal demagoguery. I'll not defend the use of the word plantation. She clearly used the wrong word. Keep in mind that the plantation's infamy had less to do with inhibiting debate and free speech, than with subjugating a people under the brutality of slavery. Essentially, one could argue that she compared House Republicans to slaveowners. There is a legitimate point of debate about the stifling of debate by the GOP in the House, but using the word plantation smacks of hyperbole. Or race-baiting.

We must not forget however, that Republicans (contrary to their assertions) have engaged in equal amounts of the same demagoguery. I didn't hear that much outrage when high-profile Republicans accuse Dems of "keeping blacks on the plantation," or "in bondage." Not much outrage when Republicans accused Dems and black leaders of racism for opposing conservative black nominees (Condi Rice, Janice Rogers-Brown, Clarence Thomas), as if we're supposed to support them just because they're black. No outrage over the eminations of The Rev. Jesse Lee Petersen, who once declared that blacks had no moral character, and could not think for themselves. Of course, the very idea that blacks are somehow brainwashed or misled for voting for any party is absurd. Black America is not stupid. Most know that the modern GOP has had a lousy track record on civil rights, and the Democratic Party also has some problems with regards to black issues. The fact is, the reason why Dems get 98 percent of the black vote is no real mystery. The Dems may take us for granted, but the GOP takes us for fools, at least it seems that way.

The fact is, this whole mess about Clinton's remarks is yet another predictable exercise.

And then there's Ray Nagin's remarks....


dcwash said...

"Black America is stupid."

Did you mean Black America is not stupid"?

Rafique Tucker said...

Yes, that's what I meant. Damn, I really need to proofread before I post.

dcwash said...

You might want to check out this blog....I found it yesterday and find him to be a intelletually honest thinker and good writer (almost as good as your).