There’s a word being tossed around in politics and the media lately. You see and hear it a lot. Trouble is, when most often used these days, that use is almost always wrong.
As Inigo Montoya said in “The Princess Bride,” “I do not think that word means what you think it means.”
The word is treason.
It’s usually hurled at someone or some political act. Treason. Treasonous. Or any derivation thereof.
Right here, right now, let’s get it straight.
My good ol’ Webster’s puts it this way: “The offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign’s family.”
Or, if you’d rather, let’s take it straight from the U.S. Constitution. Article III, Section 3: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” Period.
Unless you can define the actions of anyone who’s been in the news over the last couple of years, using those two definitions of treasonable acts, the word doesn’t apply. Again, period!
The demagogue in the White House - our White House - throws the word “treason” around to apply to almost anything he doesn’t like. His senior staff - of disreputable character - applies the word regularly, most often to Democrats.
While it’s easy - and accurate - to fault politicians for their improper use of the word, it’s most offensive when used by someone in the national media.
Treason is serious business. Too much of what passes for politics these days isn’t always as serious. We’ve bastardized so much of our language and dangerously cheapened meanings of important, descriptive words so someone tosses out “treason” to describe someone else’s words or actions when it can’t possibly apply.
Our dysfunctional President is the worst offender. He’s used the word “treason” in an attempt to embarrass or demean any Democrat-of-the-moment or Robert Mueller, Jeff Sessions and dozens of miscreants on his list of “incorrigibles” and “traitors.”
In my four score lifetime, there were three prominent people whose actions could legitimately be described as treasonous to this nation Two were Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed in the ‘50's for spying.
The other was a woman nicknamed “Tokyo Rose” who was convicted of making propaganda broadcasts to American servicemen in the Pacific during World War II.
Her real name was Iva Toguri D’Aquino. Though several Japanese women made broadcasts using the name “Toyko Rose,” Toguri was the only one brought to trial in this country. Gerald Ford pardoned her in 1977.
There’s a reason our miscreant president used the word “treason.” He has no idea what the word means. If he did, he’d stop using it. But, to him, it’s just a word that sounds serious and demeaning so he babbles away. And the media goes along.
Seems to me, if your profession is to speak or write the English language, you damn-well better know how to use it.