Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Senator, Your False Cognates Are Showing

If you've ever studied languages you know there is something called a "false cognate," a word in one language that looks like it might mean the same thing in another, but doesn't. So it is with the decidedly fraudulent "battle" over the issue of displaying the ten commandments in a public, government owned buildings. It is not about free speech, but supporters want you to accept this false cognate. Think about it. Did anyone ever get their moral guidance by reading plaques on public bulidings? Let's hope not. So having them there, or not, is only a fight for constitutional least it would seem so. The Right wants to push religion further into the public sphere, and the Left wants to make sure that we don't take another step toward being a theocracy. Both sides see this as a wedge issue that could lead to further bad things "down the road." And it probably is an important issue from that standpoint. But really, it is ultimately a non-issue, like school prayer and flag burning amendments. It is time wasted by pompous, arrogant politicians. They waste our time (and therefore, our money) on the floor of Congress keening over these ridiculous "issues," while people die, children starve and we slip further into a nation of "us and them." And, amazing as it seems, while they waste our money, they are, at the same time, whining about government if it's some other government that's writing the checks. So here's another false cognate for you. Integrity. In English it means honestly, ethical behavior and trustworthiness. In Washington, it means something else entirely.