Back in the USSA

Nick Baker

Nope. That’s not a typo.

And it’s a good thing because words need to be chosen carefully, and any confusion on their meaning can lead to unnecessarily exaggerated consequences.

Language has the power to influence our thoughts. When was the last time you had a thought that wasn’t bound by concrete language? When was the last time you persuaded someone without using words?

And word choice, well, is complicated. Similar concepts can be relayed with language that does not carry equal weight.

For example, I could say that the liberal-majority American government recently passed a bill to socialize health care. Or I could say that a bunch of baby-killing Marxists took one more step toward turning America red. They will raise your taxes, dictate your health services to you and kill the old.

Don’t euthanize me, bro.

Only one of the above statements is certain to really razz people–even people who could never define Marxism or even be able to say where Karl Marx was born. Hint: Not the Soviet Union, which did not exist until after his death, and not in Russia which, in case you are confused, was part of the Soviet Union.

I watched a little reality programming on MTV the other day and, believe me, the previous sentence was not meant as a joke.

I spent a few days over break talking to my grandmother about her life in Ukraine before World War II. She is 85 and weary of our generation. We are too lazy. We lack gumption. We take things for granted. And no young people go to Holy Trinity Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church except on the holidays.

She still thinks radical-leftist concepts dominate college campuses. Apparently, she is giving us too much credit, and is not really aware how apathetic our generation is. But it’s not even apathy, it’s just cluelessness.

She told me she lived through communist regimes and that I should want no part of that. That being said, she is very much in favor of the health-care resolution. It seems contradictory, but old Baba is sharper than most people think. And she knows that what is going on in the U.S. is not a Marx-based philosophical coup. She’s been there before.

From time to time I enjoy watching Fox News Channel. It’s so bad it’s auto-satirical. Television news isn’t really much for news as it is, but Fox News is truly its own brand.

And the clown prince of propaganda, having usurped the position previously held by Ann Coulter and Bill O’Reilly for right-wing jackass du jour, is my favorite pundit, Glenn Beck.

Well, Glenn Beck, I suppose a day or two after the bill was passed, stood in front of a chalkboard with the word “God” at the top, followed by “Morality” and so forth in a scale of sorts until the list got to the bottom, which was rounded out by the words “Socialism” and concluded with “Marxism.”

Beck was flailing his arms like a lunatic, slapping the chalkboard and pointing and trying to illustrate how America, formerly built on God and morality, was flipping and basing itself on socialism and Marxism. Beck said we need to go back to a time when we focused on God and morals.

Is that really what we want to go back to? I’m just curious, when America was standing tall on its moral pedestal, what time period in American history this occurred.

We certainly did a fine job rooting out those commies back in Ike’s days, back in the 1950s, which I suppose could be what Beck was pointing to. This was the time when we stood up to the godless communists by showing that God was indeed on our side by putting the word on our money, in our state mottos and the Pledge of Allegiance.

This was also the golden era of Jim Crow legislation, McCarthyism and post-World War II colonialism.

Is that what you’re advocating, Glenn?

Something tells me you don’t know what you’re advocating. What’s worse, you’re advocating whatever it is to people who don’t really get it.

But there is the other possibility, the scarier one, in which you would simply answer my question with a “yes,” and that wouldn’t surprise me either.

Nick Baker is a senior magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].