It’s past time for people in the media, Congress, and the White House to check their tongues. Filthy language has become widespread and ordinary folks who oppose it need to start saying so.

Particularly, the filthy-mouthed ones seem to be stuck on “damn” and “Who the Hell.” Guests on the news talk shows are the chief culprits, along with Judge Jeanine Pirro and President Trump. I hate to report that the ones whose language is worst are those with whom I agree most on politics and policy. This past week I stopped counting Judge Jeanine’s “damns” and “Who the Hells.” Talk about gratuitous. A beautiful and smart woman, the judge, sadly, is obviously on the bad language airwaves bandwagon.

I’m glad that conservatives don’t take their bad language to the streets in protest as the progressive groups do (Antifa, #MeToo, Planned Parenthood and others). Conservatives don’t protest in streets too much, probably because they’re at work. But on television, a good-sized bunch of conservatives have forgotten what their mamas taught them. Before I forget, let’s place Sen. Lindsey Graham in that group as well.

Don’t tell me this is a trivial matter. Most of us have children and grandchildren to think about. But forget children and grandchildren for a moment. Adults don’t need to hear bad language either. Anyone who chuckles at such a thought (or who considers my musings here squeamish or “puritanical”) understands little if anything about the power of language, and its lingering quality.

Language is the dress of our thoughts. Words are the vehicles upon which our thoughts ride. Those who use filthy language are spilling a portion of their character, revealing a dark side. Anything that comes out of us was in us. This is not to say that filthy talking folks are all bad. You can talk ugly and still have a heart as big as Texas, or talk ugly and be selfless. But you can’t talk ugly without painting pictures that diminish beauty, grace and civility.

A picture is worth a thousand words, we’re told. No doubt, but a word is also worth a thousand pictures. Ugly words make ugly pictures which instantly distract a listener or reader from what is being communicated.

Any way you cut it, “damn” is simply ugly and sad. “Hell,” whether a literal or a figurative place (I’m camping on literal, partly because I don’t believe my precious, believing mother can share the same eternity as Adolf Hitler) conjures the worst that can be conjured. Its casual use trivializes its seriousness. And back to children, who wants their children to be using the word loosely? As with drinking, so with cussin’. If we don’t want our kids to do it, we had better not do it ourselves.

Words can exalt and they can debase. I wish that some of the president’s evangelical Christian supporters who have his ear would tell him that his bad language needs to cease. Can’t the vice president do this? Maybe Pastor Robert Jeffress should, or the Rev. Jerry Falwell Jr. or Sen. David Purdue, or somebody! Maybe somebody has tried.

Evangelical Christians are faulted for supporting President Trump, given his ugly language. Those who do so are pushing a spurious argument. Here’s why. Our children and teens are far less influenced by the president than they are by pop culture. How many children and teens watch his rallies where he really cuts loose? Probably not many. But they do watch movies, videos, potty-mouth comedians and who knows what on their cellphones. Let’s not fault the president while giving our crude culture a pass.

The first president I ever voted for at age 20 was Barry Goldwater, who cursed profusely in front of cameras. LBJ, who defeated Goldwater soundly, cursed even more. Richard Nixon showed us his soul on the Watergate tapes, but that wouldn’t have led me to vote for George McGovern. My father’s favorite president (after FDR) was Mr. Salty Tongue himself, Harry Truman, but my father would not have voted Republican, so Salty Tongue it was. I could not have voted for Hillary Clinton, nor could I ever support any of the socialists, one of whom will be president Trump’s opponent in 2020. Sometimes we have to make decisions.

Sometimes our choices don’t offer us the more excellent way in every area of life. President Trump has ignited good, hardworking, commonsense Americans like never before. Thankfully he’s putting pompous elitism and arid intellectualism in their place. I just wish he would take advantage of the fact that English has more synonyms than any other language known to man.

Roger Hines is a retired English teacher and state legislator in Kennesaw.

7
2
0
0
1

Recommended for you