Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. – George Orwell
I was reminded of Orwell’s quote yesterday after listening to a concerned citizen’s voicemail message. The message contained words such as “Draconian, Taliban and Gilead”. Though the caller never mentioned the specific issue, I inferred from her words that she was upset over the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to not hear a challenge to the Texas Heartbeat bill – a pro-life bill that restricts the time that an abortion can be performed to six weeks after conception which is about the time that the unborn child’s heartbeat can be heard.
I confess that her reference to Gilead threw me at first. I knew it must be either a Biblical or literary nod, but I couldn’t make any religious connection other than hearing the word made me nostalgic for the old hymn “There is a Balm in Gilead” – a song that I heard at many fifth Sunday night singings in the Baptist church where I grew up. It finally took my son to remind me of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale for me to get the Gilead anti-patriarchy inference. Being a card-carrying member of the patriarchy, should I be expected to recognize such a vague metaphor?
The caller’s use of Taliban as an adjective to convey her contempt for the Texas Heartbeat bill was much clearer. Let me also be clear – I am not a card-carrying member of the Taliban. I don’t even have a beard. However, I voted for South Carolina’s version of the Heartbeat bill back in February as I have done for every pro-life bill that has come before the SC House since I was elected in 2008. During all that time, there has not been any type of anti-female legislation that has come to the House for a vote. No laws to restrict how women dress, where they work, when they go to school, what they think or who they associate with. Nada. And no, I do not believe that restricting abortions creates a slippery slope that would lead to the repression of women.
The only thing Draconian about the Texas Heartbeat bill is that it was voted upon, codified into a written law, and then heard by a court. I will let you research and draw your own conclusions about the broader impact of the ancient Greek legislator Draco on the history of politics.
Gilead, Taliban, Draconian – words used by the left to make lies truthful and murder respectable.