Democrats against War: The Color Portrait
This graphic may be reposted with attribute (with smaller, 325x313, graphic available here. Alternate background coloration in the graphic is available in the cross-post at Big Brass Blog.)
The Hidden Cost of Immunity Deals
Congressional Democrats are quickly going to learn that coddling low-level criminals with grants of immunity from prosecution is a slippery slope, where potential indictees at progressively higher levels smell prosecutorial weakness and desperation, playing it to their advantage.
The Congressmen handing out immunity deals might not understand how it works quite yet, but maybe at least a few of them will when they're voting on immunity to get George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to testify at their own impeachment trials.
Politics, War, and a Note on the Linguistics of Cowardice
What may be a broadening disgust at the Democrats elected to Congress just last November could be expressed in any number of ways. Below is an edited and augmented version of my commentin effect, mirroring the trifling attitude of the Democrats, themselvesmade yesterday, May 21, 2007, on a thread from an article at BlondeSense.
When I was a child, we had a particular word we used for a coward:
The more the insulter jutted his face forward, and the longer the vowel sound was held, the deeper the sentiment attached and the more important it was to the speaker that the person being so insulted grasp the depth of disgust being thusly conveyed.
Yes, Democrats in Congress, this is not merely the typical invective that could be mistaken for some ritualistic, friendly challenge two youngsters might exchange in times of sportsmanlike gamesmanship; this is, instead, the "Wuuuuuuus" of utter disdain for you, the summary declaration of the thoroughly decayed state of your willpower.
You cannot muster the courage to stop a war that was begun with wholesale lies, has been prosecuted with rampant incompetence, and is being held together at increasing peril to the very capacity of our armed forces to deal with genuine threats to our security. With that lack of moral fortitude on the table like a glaring neon sign advertising the pre-vertebrate nature of your calamari-only sushi bar and faux-progressive dinner theatre, it is all too clear that you will never muster the strength of heart to impeach either President George W. Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney. More damning of your stewardship of the Legislative Branch is that the certainty of this inaction comes not because you fear a backlash either from the American electorate or even from our men and women in arms; rather, it comes from the fact that you Democrats are afraid of Messrs. Bush and Cheney. You fear them. You really do. Hence, without any intent to humor or good-natured jabbing, I reduce youin fact, I disparage youwith the time-honored charge, bawled loudly so all can hear:
That's right; you heard me:
Given that the nationally elected Democrats have chosen by their fear of this President to marginalize themselves, I should probably set forth for readers a few thoughts on the word that so captures their essence; and I do so with the stated intention of further marginalizingindeed, trivializingthem. Instead of wasting space defending my use of the term "wuss" to denigrate them, I shall extend to readers here a few thoughts on the etymology of the word, itself, returning briefly at the end of this article to conjoin word meaning, usage, and valence in the context of simpering Democrats who merit far less than the exposition on linguistics with which I herewith proceed.
I was always under the impression that "wuss" was a reduced determinative compounding of the words "wimp" and "puss." The former word, on its own, does not carry a sufficiently high degree of acrimony, being more of a mildly harsh, descriptive noun, while the latter word carries too much potential for interpretation as obscenity. As is typical of young people throughout the ages in their use of strong language, I was under the impression that the obscene definition of "puss" was invented in my own generation. I was disabused of that by watching the 1970s British comedy Are You Being Served, in which double-entendres involving the word "pussy" were a staple always good for a laugh. Thus was I informed that people far older than I had facility in the vulgar use of the word "puss" and its derivatives.
However, returning to the matter of the wusses in Congress, we must address the matter of plurality. Many are the congressional Democrats who have yet to find anything even remotely akin to the testicular structural formalism so greatly valued in Western literature and, indeed, cinematic entertainment. The obvious question, then, is such: What, exactly, is the plural of "wuss"? Above, you will note that I used "wusses" to describe a multiplicity of them; but should we not consider the possibility that, if the Romans understood—perhaps even pressed into service—this derogatory term, would they not have used the appropriate Latin conventionin the present matter, "wi"to describe the many, each of whom was individually a "wuss"? It is certainly the case that second-declension Latin nouns ending in -us have as their plurals the replacement of the -us with -i.
One wuss, many wi.
"Ah-hah!" the reader must be thinking, "this cannot possibly be correct since there is an extra -s on the end of "wuss," so the plural would not be formed by dropping the -s and adding -i to form the correct pluralization."
I would respond that the incidence of that second -s might be merely an artifact of the word having been carried to modern form from "puss," which was possibly spelled "pus," but pronounced differently from the oozy yellow stuff that comes out of infected wounds. In Modern English, as was the case in its older forms, Old English and Middle English, when two words look or sound too much alike, speakers and writers will have a tendency to force spelling and (especially) sonic differences upon them. Old English speakers adopted the Norse word "egg" because their own word sounded too much like other words having completely different meanings. A great modern example of this can be found in the words "boy" and "buoy": people will go to all sorts of oral gyrations to make the latter word sound quite different from the former, even though they really needn't.
In the present case, the extra -s on "puss" is quite possibly artifactual; hence, "wuss" is really just a modern spelling of "wus," so the totality of the spineless Democrats in Congress, moving as they would in herd-like formation (lest they be picked off at the flanks by predatory Right-wing talk-show hosts) merit the drive-by insult as such:
Unfortunately, those same Democrats would probably figure that the person conveying said invective was nothing but a gamer promoting the latest revolution in online entertainment. That assumes, of course, that legislative types, be they of any political stripe, have some minimal grasp of the Information Age, an assumption probably far too generous given their insularity and their almost uniform training as lawyers rather than as productive citizens.
It's a complicated world, made even more so by the intersection of post-modern politics and the linguistics of the spoken word forever in transition from older to more modern form and modalities of communication. In the breach, however, we must retain hope, not so much that the congressional Democrats will ever be anything other than cowards, but that we, ourselves, in our continuing efforts to speak truth to power, may understand the linguistic underpinnings of the insults we issue forth to those spineless men and women who fear a miserable cabal led by a mendacious President. It is, then, to the end of both catharsis and informative narrative that I once againand this time with exclamatory releasesay to each of the Democrats in Congress:
The Dark Wraith has spoken.