Words have meaning by Barbara Edwards

I’ve loved words since I was a child. I found that using the right word at the right place could change a dull sentence into a brilliant insight. It’s the magic that makes me a writer, a poet, a dispenser of stories.

Words are powerful. Words can heal or hurt. Words show truth or expose a lie.

I want to share with you my belief about words. I think it hard to say what I mean in this politically correct world. Someone is taking away my power to say what I mean. If I can’t say ‘that’ because ‘that’ might offend the hearer, than I am limited in expressing who I am. Doesn’t that hurt me more than them?

In the novel, 1984, by George Orwell, the government gradually eliminates words until people can no longer express anything. It scared the heck out of me but I said that could never happen in real life. The government couldn’t, wouldn’t remove words that let me argue with clarity. Then they did. Don’t say terrorist or illegal alien even if it’s true.

Then I was told not to tell ethnic jokes. Any ethnic jokes were taboo. By listening to those idiots, we lost a whole segment of colorful, descriptive, stereotypical, ‘funny’ words that enabled us to laugh at ourselves and our foolish beliefs. If I don’t like an ethnic joke, I can choose not to laugh. If I don’t like a sexual comment, I can tell the speaker to behave better. 

I want my choices back!

 I’ve read Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and accepted the occasional ‘word’ as part of that culture. Not the one I grew up in, but a realistic portrayal of another time and place. Do I want it edited? No way should any book be rewritten to make it acceptable to the current norms.

 I don’t watch people who say things that offend me. I have the choice. Just like they have the choice not to read or listen to me. Their choice is what gives words power.

If I want to argue politics, I want to express my true beliefs, not some watered down, politically correct version of some wishy-washy, lukewarm, dull, soulless opinion.  

 Words are our heritage. No-one has the right to edit our ability to express our thoughts, beliefs or emotions. Keep alert. Words aren’t the only item in danger.

 “First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—

because I was not a communist;

Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—

because I was not a socialist;

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—

because I was not a trade unionist;

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

because I was not a Jew;

Then they came for me—”

and there was no one left to speak out for me.

 Martin Niemoeller





Author: Barbara Edwards

Riveting Romance with an Edge

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