"You taught me language,
and my profit on't,
Is I know how to curse."
--Caliban, The Tempest
The best policy we've ever heard about cussing came from a man named Mark Twain. Once, during an interview for a job, he was asked if he ever cursed. His answer: Only for necessity, never for pleasure.
That's the best advice when it comes to turning the air blue. Only do so when it's needed. And it most definitely is needed at times. What are you going to say if a bear gets after you in the woods? Darn it all! won't do.
But at the same time, someone who curses every time his left foot hits the ground might not be taken seriously. What's Eddie Murphy supposed to say when he hits his thumb with a hammer? He's already used up the good words in normal conversation.
Words are powerful. Like guns, sometimes only the right ones will do. Like guns, some of them should never be taken out of the case. We give you Rashida Tlaib.
She's the newly elected congresswoman from Michigan who made all the (cable) news shows last week with her comments about President Trump. They were not charming. We're sure that you saw some of them, hopefully with several dashes, displayed on the screens over the weekend.
Her full quote was, "And when your son looks at you and says, 'Momma, look, you won. Bullies don't win.' And I said, 'Baby, they don't. Because we're gonna go in there, and we're gonna impeach the ... .'" That's where a family newspaper will break it.
(Here's hoping she didn't really say that in front of a kid. Here's hoping that's just modern-day political hyperbole.)
When even members of her own party suggested that kind of language wasn't exactly lady-like, Rashida Tlaib replied: "I will always speak truth to power."
That's fine and good. And proof that she can put together a sentence without a hyphenated curse word. But you can speak truth to power without being vulgar.
Rashida Tlaib is a member of Congress now. No matter what the president may say behind closed doors, or even while cameras are rolling, the best of our representatives will raise the level of public discourse, not lower it. Remember, only for necessity, never for pleasure. It's the best policy.
Editorial on 01/08/2019
Print Headline: Language, please