When 2008 presidential rival Hillary Clinton mocked Barack Obama’s supposedly meaningless eloquence, he shot back with a few inspirational quotes from history.
“Just words?” he asked defiantly of each legendary quote. “Don’t tell me words don’t matter!”
Likewise, the left today is hypervigilant about the words that others use. Politico.com has a list of banned words it doesn’t want its writers to use, such as “manmade,” “manhunt,” “waiter or waitress” and “biological sex.” It also requires the use of painfully contorted terms such as “pregnant people,” “people using birth control,” “abortion patients” and “people seeking abortions” to seemingly avoid acknowledging the existence of women or their role in procreation.
The New York Times once absurdly claimed – wrongly, it later admitted – that a Sarah Palin PAC’s election map using bullseyes to focus on key districts directly incited the 2011 shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz.
But is the left as delicate or accountable with its rhetoric as it expects the rest of us to be?
“F— you @GovernorLittle,” Boise School Board member Shiva Rajbhandari tweeted after Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed a bill prohibiting transgender procedures for minors (just as a Missouri bill would do). “I pray you live a long life so you can bear witness to the pain you’ve unleashed on Idaho’s children and families today. When you do die though, I’m pissing on your grave.”
In Vancouver last month, a child protection activist named Chris Elston was verbally and physically assaulted by an apparent trans woman while Elston was being interviewed about an earlier assault at a trans rally. “You suck! F— you!” the trans woman yells in Elston’s face, continuing with repeated profane attacks – and inciting a mob to join in – before physically attacking him.
Meanwhile, an Associated Press news story – not an opinion piece – wrote of child protection legislative measures across the nation as “a wave of bills being considered in statehouses that would formally allow or require schools to deadname transgender students or out them to their parents without consent.”
Could the AP have put the bills, aimed at protecting minors, in a worse possible light?
Similarly, the ACLU is “Mapping Attacks on LGBTQ Rights in U.S. State Legislatures”; The Washington Post writes “Anti-trans bills have doubled since 2022. Our map shows where states stand”; and the otherwise anti-gun National Public Radio eagerly broadcasts, “Meet the queer people who practice shooting to defend themselves from hate groups.”
“If the world is dangerous, then you have to be dangerous back,” one trans gun owner is quoted by NPR.
Imagine if Palin had said anything remotely close to that. It’s likely The Times would not have stepped back from blaming her for the Gabby Giffords shooting.
Yet, as Fox News’ Tucker Carlson reported, the NPR segment aired just days before a trans shooter killed three 9-year-old children and three adults at the Christian Covenant School in Nashville on March 27.
Then, on March 31, a trans youth who goes by Lilly was arrested for a plot to attack three Colorado schools and churches.
On April 6 a pro-trans mob at San Francisco State University physically blocked and assaulted former NCAA swimmer and female sports activist Riley Gaines after her speech there, chanting profanity at her as she escaped — but not before they demanded ransom, which sounds an awful lot like kidnapping
“The dean of students was even negotiating and trying to talk them down,” Gaines told me via email Monday. “They claimed it was only fair: Since the university paid me to be there (which isn’t even true), I should pay them if I want to leave.”
As the left assiduously issues “guidance” for what words ought to be avoided or used by the rest of us, it might want to first police itself.
If words matter, as Mr. Obama said, then they matter for everyone.