State lawmakers ran into a problem this year when recommending a study on rising sea levels and their potential impacts on coastal Virginia.“Recurrent flooding”? Good grief! This is just as bad as calling Christmas trees “Holiday trees.” You can’t change reality by changing the language. When liberals do it, we call it political correctness. (And rightfully so!) But conservatives can get away with it? I guess so. They managed to convince people that torture practices are merely “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
It was not a scientific problem or a financial one. It was linguistic.
They discovered that they could not use the phrases "sea level rise" or "climate change" in requesting the study, in part because of objections from Republican colleagues and also for fear of stirring up conservative activists, some of whom believe such terms are liberal code words.
On its website, for example, the Virginia tea party described the proposed "sea level rise" study this way: "More wasted tax dollars for more ridiculous studies designed to separate us from our money and control all land and water use."
The group urged its members to contact elected officials right away to defeat the measure: "They will pass this without blinking if we don't yell loudly."
So lawmakers did away with all mention of sea level rise, substituting a more politically neutral phrase: "recurrent flooding."
The semantics dance harkens to the days when "global warming" was commonly uttered. But after conservatives criticized and ridiculed Al Gore and others, "climate change" became the kinder, gentler way to communicate the same thing.
Now it appears that "climate change" and "sea level rise" are being phased out, in Virginia at least, amid political pressure from the far right. Emerging labels include "increased flooding risk," "coastal resiliency" and, of course, "recurrent flooding."
State Del. Chris Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, who insisted on changing the "sea level rise" study in the General Assembly to one on "recurrent flooding," said he wants to get political speech out of the mix altogether.
He said "sea level rise" is a "left-wing term" that conjures up animosities on the right. So why bring it into the equation?
Maybe because it’s not a left-wing term, you uneducated nimrod!
Social Darwinism. Economic Terrorist. War on Women. Voter Suppression. Those are left-wing terms. Not Sea Level Rise. That’s not even a political term. It’s a scientific term for a scientific phenomena. There’s nothing political about it. At all!
I want to say this is something out of Orwell's 1984, but while Big Brother was evil, the Virginia Republicans are just stupid. They're not doing this out of malice. They just don't know any better.
On behalf of my home state, I want to offer my sincerest apologies. Not everyone from Virginia is this stupid or anti-intellectual or anti-science. We are not all mouth-breathing knuckle-dragging Neanderthals. I am sorry America. So very, very sorry.