So help me, if thereís a term thatís been overworked and overused in public debate of late, thatís it.
Worn out is what it is.
The most recent example of this was a July 15th commentary written in the Everett Herald by Mr. Marc Brenman.
Mr. Brenman is the executive director of the Washington State Human Rights Commission and he held forth for 800 or so words on how truly bad he thinks a group called The Minutemen are.
Fine. Thatís an opinion. Heís entitled to it and, most certainly, is entitled to express it.
But, if he wants me nodding in agreement rather than sputtering into my coffee, then heíll have to tell me precisely why he thinks this group is a bunch of kooks.
Iíd like examples and dates. Iíd like patterns and proof. Then, with that available, Iíll look at their side of the story and make a decision as to whether or not I believe theyíre bigots, racists (another overworked term), crackpots, or loons.
The bad news is that my opinion may or may not be the same as his.
Iíve reached the end of my tether, however, over the near constant use of the term "Nazis" and Iím going to spend a few words here blowing off steam. Thatís because such use trivializes what was indeed a monstrous and inhuman movement.
Supposedly, in a nation of laws, breaking one should carry some consequences. That it doesnít, as regards illegal immigration, is appalling not only to me, but also to a majority of other Americans Ė of all races, religions, beliefs, and backgrounds.
More than twelve million people have entered this country illegally, issued a slap in the face to those waiting to do so legally, and have then had the gall to demand preferential treatment as regards their presence here.
There are many of us who see this as just plain (how to put this delicately?) wrong.
Unfortunately, in these ever so politically correct days, if you say this loudly or if you (horrors!) fail to genuflect at the altar of "inclusiveness" and "sensitivity," if youíre not "welcoming" or donít "celebrate" diversity, then you must be evil and are, most certainly, a Nazi.
Give me a break.
According to Mr. Brenman, "The Minutemen rely on the use of hateful speech, the Big Lie, and fear of people who are different to corrupt and coarsen political dialogue just as their Nazi forbears did."
Have the Minutemen offered a "Final Solution" to the problem of illegal immigrants? Is it in any way similar to what SS Lieutenant General Reinhard Heydrich proposed in the Wannsee Protocols?
Have the Minutemen called for the establishment of places like Aushwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Birkenau, Buchenwald, Dachau, Majdanek, Mauthausen, Sobibor, or Treblinka?
Have the Minutemen called for the wholesale death of illegal immigrants? Have they called for the killing of mothers and children, fathers and sons, the sick and the old? Have they experimented with various poisonous gases? Have they suggested that "bath houses" be built in close proximity to ovens?
Does the term "Nazi" also apply to those who say that the influx of illegal aliens needs to be stopped immediately, our borders secured, and a hard look be taken at those who are here to determine what would be best for the nation?
Does it apply to those who argue that what our "representatives" in D.C. have allowed to happen is both disgraceful and outrageous?
Didnít think so.
The real Nazis designed and implemented a solution to their "problem" that was loathsome and horrific. That is what they were about. That term, therefore, should be reserved to describe movements or groups equaling them in evil and not be bandied about casually. As a history major, Mr. Brenman should know this.
Finally, in reading and rereading Mr. Brenmanís piece, I noticed an interesting point.
Although heíd trotted out a host of bromides and quotations regarding our immigrant past, he never once used the adjective "illegal" to describe the current situation.
His studied avoidance of that one, very accurate term was akin to trying to ignore the proverbial "800-pound gorilla in the room."
And what this did was make his entire commentary sound like nothing more than a large serving of Pecksniffian twaddle.