In politics, we’re always looking for new ways to express our opinions, preferably using words that both grab attention and frame the message. Here are five suggestions for your consideration and, sure, not everybody can use language this aggressively but many activists, advocacy groups, and elected officials in safe districts can.
1) “Injustice” Roberts, Injustice Thomas, etc.
It is both irksome and ironic that judges on the U.S. Supreme Court are called Justices when the majority is tearing down the concept of justice. Let’s call them “Injustice” Roberts, Injustice Thomas, Injustice Alito, as well as Injustices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett.
In recent weeks, the Injustices ruled that a website designer, and any other so-called “artist,” can refuse service to same-sex couples, striking down antidiscrimination laws in more than 20 states. They ended affirmative action at colleges and universities, reversing a half-century of legal precedents. And they nixed President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, on grounds that seem inspired by little more than partisanship. This is not justice.
Worse, in recent months we learned that both Injustice Thomas and Injustice Alito have, for years, covered up gifts they were required to disclose on federal financial statements. Both Thomas and Alito accepted private jet flights from billionaires while Thomas also accepted a private yacht cruise and financial benefits related to the sale to a billionaire of Thomas’ mother’s home. These are violations of the federal Ethics in Government Act of 1978, written in response to the Watergate scandal. No wonder public confidence in the Injustices has plummeted.
2) “Showboating” (perhaps most perfected by DeSantis)
As MAGA has become more and more detached from reality, its politicians have found that real policymaking can’t satisfy the MAGA crowd. So, they resort to “showboating,” which for them tends toward bullying for emotional rather than legitimate policy reasons. (Progressives online call this “performative,” but that’s not very effective language outside of our base.)
Governor DeSantis is the current king of showboating. Before this past year, could anyone even dream that one state would pay to semi-kidnap immigrants in a different state and fly them to a third state, just to appeal to MAGA xenophobia? And do it twice, so far? Could anyone imagine the government of Florida picking an absurd fight with Walt Disney, its largest employer by far? How about book banning? He’s incredible. Of course, Trump, Abbott, Cruz, Huckabee Sanders, Hawley, and many other MAGA leaders are also prolific showboaters.
3) The “far white” (or other substitutions of white for right)
There are hardly any traditional conservative officials anymore. As President Biden has been pointing out, they are “MAGA,” they are “extreme,” or even, as he put it, “semi-fascist.” But none of these labels draw attention to the racism behind today’s right wing. So, on occasion, instead of “right wing” one could say “white wing;” instead of “far right,” say “far white;” instead of “radical right,” say “radical white;” instead of “ultra-right,” say “ultra-white.”
This is appropriate because white supremacy is what MAGA is all about. MAGA is an argument that America was “great” when people of color (as well as women and LGBTQ+ people) stayed “in their place.” The language of Trump and MAGA revolve around a series of dog-whistles communicating their bigotry. It is our job to call them out.
4) “Religious tyranny” (the opposite of religious freedom)
It is astonishing how MAGA uses the words “religious freedom” to mean the opposite. It is, instead, “religious tyranny” to use the power of government to impose one group’s religious rules on the rest of us: allowing or requiring discrimination against LGBTQ people, censoring speech about racial injustice, and using state money to fund religious schools, place clerics in public schools, and prop up religious anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers.
But, of course, the biggest examples of religious tyranny are bans on abortion. The entire argument against first-term abortions relies on a particular religious belief of when life begins. Other religions disagree with this determination and there is only subjective evidence on the issue. These government prohibitions on abortion, sanctioned by last year’s Supreme Court ruling overturning a half-century of precedents, are the very opposite of individual freedom.
5) Rapist, as in “Trump is a”
In a spectacular hypocrisy, MAGA leaders claim they’re absolutely against sex criminals, attacking LGBTQ people, complaining of “grooming” and child pornography, and fantasizing—with QAnon—that political leaders are somehow part of a worldwide sex trafficking conspiracy. And yet, their candidate for President is—and has been adjudicated—a rapist.
To be specific, a Manhattan jury of nine men and three women found that Donald Trump “sexually abused” journalist E. Jean Carroll because he forcefully stuck his fingers into Carroll’s vagina in a department store dressing room. The dictionary definition of “rape” is “unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina…without the consent of the person subjected to such penetration.” So, say: “a jury ruled that Trump sexually assaulted a woman in a manner that, in plain English, is rape.”
Let Trump apologists defend him, arguing that’s not technically a “rape.” It’s a no-win argument for them. And it’s the most disgraceful defense you’ve ever heard in your life. Obviously, it is now shameful and indefensible to support this man for public office. But, of course, hardly any of Trump’s supporters are aware of the jury’s ruling. They only get news from sources that won’t mention it. If you get the opportunity, bring it up and don’t back down.