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Letters to the Editor for Jan. 12, 2022: Reflecting on rhetoric
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Letters to the Editor for Jan. 12, 2022: Reflecting on rhetoric

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Reflecting on rhetoric

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In George Will’s inaugural column of 2022, he bemoans a perceived bastardization of language by the left in 2021 and offers a carefully curated, if not cherry-picked, list of supposed atrocities perpetuated against both English and reason. No sensible person condones the reprehensible conduct of the Jussie Smolletts of the world, but there seems little material damage done by the language he deplores beyond offense to his linguistic sensibilities.

Far more threatening and troubling is the novel lexicon bubbling up from the right: “Free speech” is construed as an absolute right to disseminate noxious personal attacks and patent untruths across private media platforms. A “patriot” is any of the Jan. 6 insurrectionists. “Fake news” is a fact that rebuts the right-wing narrative. “Voter fraud” is the sole means by which a Democratic candidate prevails.

Will assails the left’s perceived deformation of the word “violence” just as a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll reveals that 40% of Republicans, 41% of independents and 27% of Democrats see use of violence against the government as justifiable.

Perhaps Will should resolve to apply the clarity of a mind uncluttered by euphemisms and neologisms as well as his superb wordsmithery to the right's rhetoric .

David Routt.

Richmond.

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