Skewed News — Remember when words meant what they mean? Yeah, me neither.
Still, it’d be nice to live in such a country.
Leading today’s political news is a story that would define the word “banal” (if it meant banal) if not for its role in further unmasking the thoroughly undemocratic Democratic Party in our undemocratic system.
The vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee says the chairman of the DNC disinvited her from tomorrow night’s first debate between major Democratic Party presidential contenders Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley. At issue is an email Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard received from the chief of staff to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC boss. Gabbard accuses Schultz of yanking her invite to the Nevada debate in retaliation for her remarks on MSNBC, the Democratic Party’s television organ, in which Gabbard said she would have preferred for there to be more primary debates than have been scheduled.
The DNC says Gabbard wasn’t disinvited. From The New York Times: “A person close to the committee who asked for anonymity to discuss internal discussions insisted, however, that Ms. Gabbard had not been disinvited. Instead, the person said, an aide to Ms. Wasserman Schultz expressed a desire to keep the focus on the candidates as the debate approached, rather than on a ‘distraction’ that could divide the party, and suggested that if Ms. Gabbard could not do that, she should reconsider going.”
Let’s simplify. You’re #2 in an organization. You were planning to attend that group’s event. Then #1 calls to say you should “reconsider going.” What is that, if not being disinvited?
Hard to argue with Gabbard’s assessment that “it kind of reminds me of how high school teenagers act.”
The unidentified DNC insider doubled down, insisting: “She was not uninvited. The DNC team wanted this first debate to have all the focus on the candidates. Gabbard’s people were told that if they couldn’t commit to that, since Tulsi was trying to publicly divide the DNC leadership last week, then they should consider not coming.”
That, courageous DNC person ordered to speak on behalf of Wasserman Schultz, is called uninviting someone.
“The fact that she is still making this about her and not our great candidates by talking to The New York Times says something unfortunate.” Look over there, not over here!
Memo to DNC: there is only one way to effectively counter the accusation that Gabbard hasn’t been disinvited from the debate. Which is to invite her to the debate. The fact that you haven’t stated that Gabbard is not only welcome to attend, but it just wouldn’t be the same without her, confirms her account — not yours.
This Orwellian practice, defining words out of their meaning, has gone from ridiculous happenstance to routine operating procedure. It’s one thing to insist, as the U.S. has since 1941, that it no longer starts wars but only engages in “police actions” and “peacekeeping missions” and “regime change.” It is a new low to tell someone they can’t come to a party while claiming that they haven’t been uninvited — even though they still shouldn’t come. This vicious attack on the English language must stop.
Speaking of anonymous sources who want you to believe that words don’t mean their meaning, someone at The Los Angeles Times kept insisting that I hadn’t been “fired” as the paper’s cartoonist (evidently as a favor to the Los Angeles Police — tacky!). Wait, does that mean I’m still working there? No — because I was a freelancer, and not a full-time staffer, the Times somebody insisted, I hadn’t been fired.
Firing means to remove someone from their job. Jobs can be full-time or part-time or one time. Probably the most famous use of the word was Donald Trump’s catchphrase from the TV reality program “The Apprentice”: “You’re fired!” The apprentices were unpaid interns, yet no one questioned that they’d been fired.
It does not matter to the homeless or those tortured at Gitmo whether Gabbard watches the debate on TV or in person. But this spat does reveal stuff. Like:
- Wasserman Schultz is really, really petty.
- The political class will literally say anything to defend themselves, even when their position is inherently indefensible, and even when they look even worse as the result of their self-defense.
- Gabbard’s concern about there not being enough debates to ensure a legitimate-looking process within the Democratic primary process is a legitimate one, especially after 2012, when Obama was coronated as the nominee without a primary opponent. As much as the DNC and Wasserman Schultz want the “inevitable” Hillary installed with only nominal opposition, they are going to have to face the uncomfortable reality that a lot of Democrats prefer someone else.