Reclaiming Vocabulary

Let’s start with something basic. Vocabulary. Currently people in favor of preserving the Constitution have been labeled “Liberal” while those who would change the freedoms and protections outlined therein have been called “Conservative.” Hold on there! In 11th grade I was taught that conservative meant you were opposed to change. Yet liberal implies not just change, but progressive change. The far-reaching policy changes advocated by many of those currently claiming the conservative label, are definitely not progressive. They would take us back to the Middle Ages, back to a state without individual rights, back to government controlled by church, back to subjugation of scientifically provable fact to religious belief. There is a word for that. Not conservative, not liberal…but reactionary. I don’t think that is what most citizens of the USA want. But this is a marketing campaign and advertisers know how to usurp words to promote their product. In this case they not only call themselves “conservative,” they call themselves “right.” Let’s be more precise with our vocabulary. John Kerry is conservative. George W. Bush is reactionary.