Too many euphemisms have entered our lexicon

Previously owned, marginalized, underprivileged, specially abled, significant other, mentally challenged, indigenous peoples, ethnocentric, nontraditional, transgender, nonviable tissue mass, gender-biased, multicultural, homophobic. These and many more euphemisms have gradually worked their way into our common parlance. We have become more sensitive to “gender-specific” words, and have modified our vocabulary accordingly. From the sensible “chairperson” to the ludicrous “person hole cover,” we as a culture out of respect for others, and also because of the pressure to be politically correct, have tolerated the injection of so many euphemisms into our lexicon.

Words have meanings; we depend on our ability to communicate using the words that are the vernacular of the people. Often a word is created because of some new thing that requires a new term to define it. Words in the technology field such as Google and gigabyte come to mind.

Sometimes new words are slang words that take hold in pop culture. I will not attempt to name any of these terms due to a lack of hipness. Phrases like “previously owned” are marketing ploys designed to make a product more appealing. Sometimes the motivation is to protect the feelings of individuals who have a handicap, which is now called a “challenge,” as in “mentally challenged” or “bipolar.”

Political motives are another reason for creating a new word. These motivations are not always as honest as they should be. The purpose is to change the perspective of the listener so that an agenda can be advanced. There may be a moral reason to do this, but it is often used as a weapon of coercion.

By labeling someone as homophobic, for instance, whether accurate or not, the opinion of the person labeled as such is dismissed in the minds of many and does not even require the courtesy of attention or response.

Marriage is a word that has a meaning, a legal definition that has sufficed for ages. There are those among us who would have us redefine the word to be more “inclusive,” and include gay and lesbian couples under the legal umbrella of marriage. A small irony in my view is the same “community” usually advocates celebrating our differences! A majority of people, however, do not accept this definition, and the battle has ensued in the legislature and the courts for years. This is no longer a battle for civil rights, as a civil union has, and should have, equal protection and respect under the law.

Moreover, existing laws make it a crime to discriminate against any individual for any number of reasons. Activists are now attempting to use the courts to “force” the majority to accept the view of a minority. Much of this rancor could be assuaged if only there was another word to celebrate the different but “special,” loving, caring commitment and legal union of “same sex” couples. Civil unionage just does not pass muster.

Where are all of the “euphemizers” when we really need them?
Jim Fitzmaurice