Tag Archive: language

The Right-Wing (and others) Co-Opt the Language of the Debate

Once again, the media (including Blue Jersey) have fallen into the trap of allowing the right-wing to enable its agenda by choosing the name for political initiatives.

For example, much of the media uses the term “gun control” when the advocates of common-sense gun laws are really promoting “gun safety.” Technically, both terms are correct, but the former has the ring of men in black suits coming to confiscate your legal weapons.

Similarly, if I’m not in the “pro-life” camp, it doesn’t mean I’m “pro-death.” Proponents of women’s health have done a decent job promoting the “pro-choice” moniker, but the other side is more accurately described as “anti-abortion.”

Now, the topic of discussion is the bill that passed in the New Jersey Assembly yesterday – the “Aid in Dying” bill. Media outlets (including this one in today’s roundup) use the term “assisted suicide.” Technically – from a linguistic point of view – they are correct. But the term “suicide” comes with negative and often violent connotations. A more accurate term would be “death with dignity” or some variant of the name of the bill – “aid in dying.”

Language matters. The right has understood this for decades. It’s time for the left to gain control of it, too.