Long ago, many on the right realized that many Americans do judge books by their covers. It’s essentially out of intellectual laziness that they do. So they started finding labels for groups, laws, initiatives, etc that people would look upon and immediately decide on the value of what was described and those either promoting or fighting against it. They trust that the people would be too lazy to actually open the book cover and see what was contained inside and what it has done or would do in relationship to their everyday lives. Right wing conservative hit man and propagandist Frank Luntz is adept at this concept.
So for those of you who actually spend time to look behind the cover art created by the right-wing, here’s a sample of the RWNJ Lexicon that shows what they want you to believe by the title/label and what it truly is by actions and intent.
47%: Per Mitt Romney during the secretly taped speech he gave to donors, and as perpetuated by FOX, Rush Limbaugh and other conservative commentators, was meant to refer to those in America who are wholly dependent on government to survive and are too lazy to take care of themselves. Usually ascribed to minorities and those on “welfare”, anyone who gets any form of government assistance. In reality, those collecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid (who actually paid into these programs), food stamps, unemployment benefits, veterans, multinational banks and corporations, small businesses, government contractors, active duty military personnel, elected officials all get some form of government assistance. And many of the 47% actually do pay FICA and state/local taxes and/or paid into their Social Security/Medicare throughout their working lives.
American People: Those who support the right wing agenda. In reality, they do not consider anyone who is a Democrat, RINO (Republican In Name Only), independent, non Christian, atheist, Muslim, anyone who’s political, religious and moral compass who doesn’t FULLY run in line with the views of this group, some 70% or more of the nation, as representative of Americans.
Americans for Prosperity: A political think-tank group funded by the Koch Brothers who advocate legislation that will bring prosperity to all Americans via union busting, “right to work” status, deregulations, etc. In reality, their actions only assist those already in prosperity (usually due to being born into prosperity) in keeping it. The legislation they advocate makes it not only more difficult, but often impossible for those in the lower classes to aspire to the prosperity the Koch brothers and their kind already enjoy and don’t want to lose.
Clear Skies Initiative: An initiative imposed in the Bush Administration to counter regulations in the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) that required antiquated coal burning plants to upgrade their plants to bring harmful emissions down. It essentially grandfathered all these plants and excused them from making any upgrades. This was done by the Bush Administration to “save jobs” which is nice, but does little to clear the skies. As a result, the pollution these plants create has been linked in numerous studies to increased premature deaths and cases of asthma and cancer. Studies using methods approved by the EPA have blamed the Detroit Edison plant for 293 premature deaths and 5,740 asthma attacks per year, according to the group Clear the Air. Likewise two old coal-burning plants in Chicago, the Fisk and Crawford plants run by the company Midwest Generation and producing electricity for Com-Ed, were held responsible for 41 premature deaths, 550 emergency room visits and 2,800 asthma attacks in a 2001 study by the Harvard School of Public Health. Numerous out-dated plants in other states cause similar problems.
Conservative: This is the broad term those on the right like to use when describing themselves or anything they do or stand for. Essentially it is suppose to refer to smaller government with limited powers. However, the origins of the conservative movement never made mention of growing government power to determine what Americans do in their bedrooms, what women do with their bodies, or expand government surveillance powers to have unfettered access to what you read, access on the internet, who you associate with, power of corporations over the needs of the people and legislation of religious ideology with force of law, all things fully supported and demanded by the right wing faction of the Republican Party.
Conservative Christian: A common phrase especially by those on the right describing themselves in their bios. However, they ascribe their core principles to things never said by, and in many ways contrary to the teachings of Christ. If Jesus was a conservative, he was a bad one because the Bible clearly shows he supported free healthcare, expected people to sell everything to follow him and aid the poor, indigent and lesser people among them. Jesus made no claim to governance and only expressed anger at the “money changers” in the Temple of God in Jerusalem. Jesus never forbade homosexuality, never said a thing about abortion, and never told the poor to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. “How you treat the least of thee is how you treat me.”
Constitution Constructionist: A term used by those on the extreme right of the Supreme Court and those who support them implying that they will only view constitution rights as the founders intended. However, they seem to overlook the fact that the founders wrote into the constitution the means for changing it along with the times as the need arises. The original constitution as enacted by the founders only saw white male property owners as those who counted. Slaves were only a fraction of a person, women and minorities had no rights. The constitution is by design, and as validated by a clear reading of the Federalist Papers and the letters of Thomas Jefferson a “Living Document” though the right has extreme problems with that definition. Times change and so can the Constitution to address these changes as we evolve as a society and people. The founders knew this to be true otherwise the amendment process would have never been written into the Constitution.
Constitutional Libertarian: This is a new one that I’ve only recently heard. It applies to Libertarians who see the Constitution under the guise of those who cite “Constitution Constructionist” as their policy. As noted above, this is contrary to what the founders intended. They see nothing supporting full equal rights and equal treatment of all Americans because that was not in the original constitution. They also see many things, cite and quote many things not even mentioned, or totally contrary to what it is in the Constitution and her amendments. When I hear “Constitutional Libertarian” I’m left with the thought that it applies to people who take liberty regarding what the Constitution actually says and means.
Death Panels: A very popular phrase that came up during the Affordable Care Act debates. It implies that there were provisions in the Act giving government the right to determine who lives and who dies via what they could or couldn’t get in terms of treatment. In reality, there is nothing to establish such a government panel with that mandate. However, private insurance companies, in their efforts to maintain profitability currently do have “panels” that determine if they will or won’t pay out on procedures based on their beliefs, regardless of what your doctor prescribes or asks for. They can deny payment for any service based on their interpretation of whether it is necessary, experimental, whatever. So if there are death panels, they are actually the part of the private “for profit” insurance companies, not the Affordable Care Act.
Death Tax: A favorite of the right referring to the Estate Tax where they bring up visions of taxing the dead. They imply that no one can get any inheritance from their beloved dead without paying an extravagant tax on it. Well in reality, the Estate Tax only applies to inheritance over $5,000,000.00. Today, 99.87% of all estates pay zero estate taxes. So this only applies to a very small fraction of the 1%. Here’s a link to the myths regarding the estate tax: http://www.cbpp.org/files/estatetaxmyths.pdf
Family Values: This implies that only two parents raising their children in a Christian household beholding to the standards set forth by Ward and June Beaver are consistent with “Family Values.” Otherwise you cannot possibly understand or maintain that standard. So single parents, gay-parents, atheist parents, Jewish/Muslim/Hindu/etc parents, non-GOP, etc do not understand and cannot attain true Family Values. It would appear that only a small fraction of American Families have “values.”
Fox News “Fair and Balanced”: Of course, only Fox News is fair and balanced and by that they mean that they will present both sides of any political position, theirs which is always right despite the facts and the other side which is always wrong. The talk shows openly talk about Republicans and Right Wing Agenda as their own. They make no effort to cover that up anymore. They berate and belittle anyone with a differing position time to present their views before they “have to leave it there.” Fox News is clearly one-sided catering to the low-information viewer.
Global Warming Hoax: Citing a handful of email correspondence regarding research methodology is all they have to say that the entire theory of Global Climate Change is false. They usually cite that God controls the environment and there is absolutely nothing out there to support the theory supported by well over 95% of global scientists using peer reviewed literature. It is true that there are some who offer contrary interpretations. However of these people, nearly all are under the pay of Oil Interests and none of their work is peer reviewed. In fact recently a Koch Brother’s research team came back stating that Climate Change is real and is most likely man-made only to be dismissed by the Koch Brothers, who owe much of their wealth to the oil industry.
Job Creators: These are the people who cannot be taxed at a higher rate because they need tax cuts and the extra money provided to them by the federal government to create jobs. Well the problem is they’re not creating jobs despite ten years of the Bush tax cuts. In reality people only create jobs if there is a financial need to do so. In short demand for goods and services creates jobs, not extra cash in the hands of those at the top. Currently thanks to the Bush tax cuts the job creators are literally sitting on trillions of dollars that they are keeping out of the economy and in bank accounts (usually overseas) not contributing to our economy. When the middle-class grows and has more buying power, they spend that money, if the rich get even more money, they sit on it. There are job creators, just not the ones the right-wing like to refer to.
Liberal Media: Any media that isn’t Fox or right-wing talk radio is “Liberal Media” because they are only supportive of the “liberal agenda.” In reality, most media is controlled by the same corporate interests as much of Fox and right-wing talk radio. What’s more interesting is that a study of news stories from all media show significantly higher “negative” coverage of Obama and traditional left-wing causes than positive, despite national favorability polling of the people. There may be media more to the left than Fox, but it can hardly be called “liberal”.
ObamaCare: The epithet applied to the Affordable Care Act. By doing so they made the whole act completely to work of a President that many on the right doubt was ever born in this country, is extremely liberal, and is Marxist. Well much of the Affordable Care Act is made up of Republican Ideas presented during the “Hillary Care” debates of the 1990’s. The individual mandate was proposed by the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think-tank now about to be controlled by Jim DeMint. It is modeled under the conservative model of “Romney Care” that was instituted in Massachusetts. It isn’t liberal by any means, it is actually a center-right response to the Single-Payer, Universal Healthcare that those on the left truly want. However, in calling it “ObamaCare” the right-wing is actually correct in a way they would never admit, Obama is a centrist who does embrace Republican/Conservative ideas as a means of governance, not the liberal he’s portrayed to be by RWNJs.
Right to Work: This applies to Right to Work legislation in various states around the country designed to limit, if not out-law collective bargaining rights of workers via unions. It implies that everyone has a right to work and that union style “collective bargaining interferes in “job creators” ability or desire to create jobs. What it actually does is limit the ability of workers to use democratic principles to join together and as a group demand better working environment and pay than the employers, who need the people working for them, are willing to part with because it cuts into their profit margins. Studies across the nation clearly show that Right to Work legislation often results in lower wages, lower job security, and worsening work environments than states who still recognize and allow workers to exercise their democratic rights to be heard. Further, employment rates in right to work states are often below the national average. It’s not an issue of providing good jobs for workers; it’s providing bigger profit margins to corporations that usually do not translate to better jobs.
Socialist: This essentially applies to anyone who counts on government to supply those things that only government can provide on a fair and productive means. Anyone who isn’t “anti-government” is socialist. Anyone who believes in Infrastructure, Roads, Safe food, Clean Air and Water, Police, Courts, Fire-Fighters, Military being provided by government of the people for the people without a profit margin is a socialist.
Socialized Medicine: Although enjoyed by most industrialized nations in the world at less cost with better outcomes than what is provided in this country. Of course, we actually do have what the right will call “socialized.” Veterans Care, Medicare, Medicaid are all under what the right would call socialized medicine because it’s government controlled and managed and nobody receiving it would be willing to give it up. In reality, it truly cannot be said that ObamaCare is socialized because the heart of it keeps healthcare under the control of the for-profit insurance companies, much to the dismay of those on the left.
Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party: One of my favorite groups to talk about. These are the people who were created essentially as a grassroots, but were quickly taken over by corporate interests. They base their existence that as citizens, they are paying higher taxes with no true representation than ever before. In reality, on a federal level, citizens are paying to lowest federal tax rates in over 60 years and it has even gone lower under President Obama. Further, though they want to pay even less taxes, they do not want any of the services provided by government (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) cut or reduced in any manner. An extremely fun group to work with.
Traditional Marriage: From what the right-wing says, from the “Bible” and throughout history, marriage has always been the union of a man and a woman for the procreation of offspring. Anything outside of that is not traditional and should be outlawed. Of course, many on the right had this same believe regarding interracial marriage. They do not seem to understand that in reality, traditional marriage was a property arrangement and could involve multiple spouses and concubines. In a pragmatic sense, marriage today has little or nothing to do with the history of the union of people more than a legal classification of non-siblings for property rights during their lives together and after death. Nothing in the Bible says that people of the same sex cannot get married. Most of the references to marriage talk about polygamy. But no matter, for these people, tradition is what they cherry pick from history, not history itself.
Union Thugs: An epithet applied to anyone who supports unions and/or collective bargaining rights of workers. This applies to the history of some bad people associated with unions in the past. However by doing so, they ignore what the existence and work of unions throughout our history have provided for all workers over the objections of the business leaders. These are the things that those who assail union supporters as thugs would themselves not likely give up: paid holidays, paid vacations, paid sick-time, safe working conditions, employee benefits, fair wages, family leave, 40-hour workweek, overtime compensation, the list goes on.
There are many terms/labels in the RWNJ Lexicon that will come up in conversation either on talk radio, social media, workplace, or at family gatherings. It’s important to realize that you can’t judge a book by its cover nor can you judge a situation by its label, especially if that label is applied by someone with a narrative to promote. Look at the history and the facts of any group of people, process, initiative or law before applying either negative or positive support for it. This is where we do better than those on the far right-wing fringe, we want to know, they just want to support or disapprove of whatever they’re told by the labels they are given.