It’s already on the record that I’m not a big fan of certain words that have come into common usage in recent years, such as “parenting” and “adulting.” While I would almost never use either of those words except sarcastically, I pretty much embrace “ghosting” as it describes something contemporary with a somewhat new word.
In that spirit, I’d like to offer my own freshly minted gerund—“Americaning,” meaning the act of distilling information from a variety of sources, removing spin and recognizing the agenda of that source in order to determine what is nostalgically called the truth, and then acting like you paid attention in your high school government class.
If the last two weeks are any example (and they are), Americaning is exhausting. The impeachment hearings have worn me smooth. Sure, they had their moments, particularly when Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s testimony amounted to throwing the proverbial brick into the pigpen, and several little piggies started squealing. My guess is it hit Trump first, and then bounced and hit Pence, Giuliani, and Pompeo.
All this talk of quid pro quo is wearing me out, too. First of all, anything that requires a Latin expression to identify it is highly suspect. I never took Latin, and the closest I ever got to it was reading “Dulce et Decorum est” in school. The Democrats seem to have realized that “Amuricans” don’t cotton to legalese and dead languages, so they’re trying to define what Trump did as bribery and extortion, which are more familiar and clearly criminal. Why they didn’t opt for “tit for tat” is beyond me, unless one considers that we don’t know what “tat” might be.
This week’s Democratic debate was a bit challenging, too. Not intellectually, just to sit through. Five rounds down, and familiarity is indeed breeding contempt, or something close to it. I found myself looking forward to the few times that a question was directed to Tulsi Gabbard, not because of interest in what she might say, but to see if the camera would pull back far enough that I could see who is pulling her strings.
Pete Buttigieg certainly had a few moments. “There’s more than a hundred years of Washington experience on this stage, and where are we right now as a country?” Ouch! When he and Ms. Gabbard stirred it up, I thought that would be the highlight of the debate. But don’t count out our former Vice President.
In cataloging his bona fides (Latin!) on race, Uncle Joe mentioned his support from “three former chairs of the black caucus, the only bl-African American woman that has ever been elected to the United States senate.” To which Senator Kamala Harris responded, “No, that’s not true. The other one is here.” She laughed it off, to her credit, and Lord knows there’s nothing unusual about a Biden gaffe. But a more telling example of the obstacles black women face to be visible could not have been orchestrated.
Next week is Thanksgiving, and there’s not much that is more American than that. Many folks will be biting their tongues at family gatherings, and some will be eyeing the carving knives for nefarious purposes.
Good luck with all that. We’re ordering from Luby’s. I can’t cook, but the table will be flawless.