The Monday Morning Teaser

It’s difficult to do the Sift on days when news might suddenly break in one direction or another. Today is not an ordinary Monday, but the Martin Luther King holiday. Wednesday is the Biden Inauguration. Since the invasion of the Capitol, we’ve all been on pins and needles, waiting to see if protests planned for this weekend would turn violent. So far, they have not, and have not even drawn many peaceful protesters. But there’s still a day left. An attack might happen at any moment, or we might all end the weekend wondering why we were so wound up.

It’s tempting to make the case for the Trump impeachment, which will go to trial after he leaves office. But other people have done a good job of that, so I think I can just point you to them. Today’s two featured posts will cover issues that may not have as much immediate importance, but that I hope will point your attention in directions it might not otherwise go.

The first is finished and should post almost immediately: “The Orwellian Misuse of ‘Orwellian'”. For years, I’ve been calling attention to the way that conservatives break words through intentional misuse. The Bush administration did its best to break the word “torture”, but failed. “Fascism” was an unusable word for a while, but during the Trump administration liberals went to considerable effort to rehabilitate it. “Socialism” is currently under attack: How can we have any reasonable discussion about socialism when loud voices call Joe Biden a “radical socialist”?

But by far the most ironic attempt to break a word is the current misuse of “orwellian” to apply to things that aren’t even remotely orwellian, like Josh Hawley losing his book contract after he promoted an insurrection. If conservatives succeed in making “orwellian” meaningless, that will truly be orwellian.

Impeachment is one effort to defend democracy, but the second featured post looks at a longer-term fix: abolish the filibuster. When the Senate doesn’t function, Congress doesn’t function. The presidency and the Supreme Court compensate by claiming powers they shouldn’t have, and the American People lose faith in their ability to change things by voting. Eventually, a Caesar will sweep the whole dysfunctional system away, and the People will cheer (as the Roman People cheered Caesar). “To Save Democracy, End the Filibuster” should post around 11 EST.

That leaves the weekly summary to cover impeachment, what we’re finding out about the Capitol invasion, the plans Biden has announced, the virus, and so on. (And Yes, there will be an absurd closing.) Let’s predict that to appear around 1.

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  • Geoff Thompson  On January 18, 2021 at 9:32 pm

    Another word that has been broken: Christian


    • weeklysift  On January 27, 2021 at 6:13 am

      That’s a good point. Today, if I run into people labeling themselves as Christians, the last thing I expect to hear from them is the Sermon on the Mount. Much more likely they’ll be militaristic, wealth-worshiping, people whose view of morality is mostly about sex.

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