What Barak Hussein Obama started during his two terms as President was definitely a transformation of America, but not accomplished in a traditional sense. It wasn’t done through violent uprising, but instead through the semantics of rhetoric transformed into policy.
I’ve written here before about the use of rhetoric in a column entitled “The Power Of Language” (1/5/2020) and also “Corrupt Communications” (11/18/17). In the first piece mentioned, I partly focused on the work of homiletical philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and his concept that all language only has the meaning assigned to it by its popular usage.
Before going into only as much detail as space allows, I’d like to use a Biblical example of how words that mean the same thing can be construed differently regardless of context.
The story of David and Goliath is found in 1st Samuel, Chapter 17. In verse 50, David “…smote the Philistine and slew him…”; in verse 51 he “…took his sword…and slew him and cut off his head with it.” That’s the King James version. In the Revised Standard and Living Bible versions, the words used are “struck” and “killed”.
So, slew and killed mean the same. Other more recent versions use slightly different verbiage. Imagine this, though; using different rhetoric, you can convey the same meaning. “Murdered” would be applicable but rather crude and probably deemed inappropriate. “Offed” and “whacked” sound like Mafia terms. (“Yo, big guy…here’s a message from God The Father!”) “Dispatched would mean the same, even though it sounds like it came from a James Bond movie. “Removed” is very PC, but would appeal to some.
Seven words — slew, killed, murdered, offed, whacked, dispatched and removed-all mean the same. While all within the proper context, the intensity of meaning varies.
This subtle use of language, and particularly the power of very specific words, is something George Orwell understood well. The Ministry Of Truth and Newspeak are the best examples. In the book 1984, a character named Syme, who works for the Ministry as a specialist in Newspeak, said this: “It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words…in the end, the whole notion of goodness and badness will be covered by only six words…in reality only one word.”
This is exactly where Obama’s “transformation” has brought us. In the Left’s use of context, “hate”, “oppression”, “tolerance”, and “racist” have only the meaning they want at any convenient (for them) time.
The use of the word “care” is another example. Obamacare, healthcare, and gender-affirming care, all render “care” meaningless within context.
It’s the same with any academic program involving the word “studies”. Any race, ethnic, gender, trans/LGBT, or woman’s program with “studies” attached to it is agenda-driven, and not intellectual inquiry or instruction.
Any gathering of Antifa, BLM, or any Leftist demonstration is also always referred to as “mostly peaceful”.
One thing that’s always fascinating, and disheartening, is the Left’s endless bleating about “democracy”. How can any so-called intelligent adult, elected to public office, not understand that the U.S.A. is a constitutional republic and not a democracy?
The church, or rather the over-organized denominational part, has fallen prey to some of this thinking as well. Starting with the false narrative of “What Would Jesus Do?”, too many believers have bought into the belief that Christ is a non-confrontational, limp-wristed, woke pacifist who won’t make waves. Once again, space doesn’t allow for the proper way to refute that, but check out these verses as a starting point to understand how naive and just plain wrong that assertion is.
Mt. 12:9-13; 21:12,13
Luke 12:49-57 (specifically verse 51), 19:45-48
In closing, here is a great definition of the word semantics (from Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition, 1994)
Semantics: the study of meaning; the historical and psychological study and classification of changes in the signification of words or forms viewed as factors in linguistic development; the language used (as in advertising or political propaganda) to achieve a desired effect on an audience, especially through the use of words with novel or dual meanings