Don’t say we weren’t warned. During his campaign, Donald Trump told us he had “the best words.” We just didn’t realize he had his own meanings to go with them.
Thanks to President Donald J. Trump, several words have taken on new meanings. If you’re having a conversation with a Trump supporter, or listening to a member of his administration, you may find yourself thinking: “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”
This has happened to me so many times in the two weeks since the president’s inauguration, I thought I’d take a few minutes to put together this handy lexicon to help others who still use the Webster’s Dictionary version of English keep up with our new Linguist-In-Chief.
Don’t let this one fool you, the word’s spelling and pronunciation are the same as they ever were, but the president has his own definition. So if you refer to his Executive Order banning travel and immigration to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim countries, by travelers, immigrants, or refugees who aren’t Christian, as a Muslim ban, you are a “liar.”
This order is about national security! It aims to keep out “very bad and dangerous people,” also known as “Islamic terrorists,” who are bad “dudes”, and any (non-Christian) person from these countries could be one of them!
You don’t want terrorists in the country, do you? Besides, the proof it’s a lie to call it a Muslim ban is that it doesn’t block Muslims from other Muslim countries, like Saudi Arabia. Of course, since Saudi Arabia was home to most of the 9/11 hijackers, it doesn’t feel much like a national security measure either, but that’s just because you don’t understand the vetting process. Even though we don’t have a different set of questions for people from these other countries, we can trust their answers more because the resorts and golf courses where they come from haven’t been destroyed by civil war.
Be advised, even if you do agree that radical Islam is a problem, if you don’t agree that every (Muslim) from the seven countries listed in the president’s Executive Order poses a grave threat to the nation, prepare to be asked why you hate your country, and how long you’ve been a leftist.
Synonym: Person who disagrees with or criticizes Trump in any way
This word no longer means “person who tries to pass off falsehood as fact.” In the post-Trump world, this word means “Anyone critical of the president, his policy positions, or the members of his administration.”
If you want to use this word to refer to the president himself, or any member of his administration, you must provide proof of intent. If you can’t, then the statement is not a falsehood (even if it’s factually inaccurate), and they simply “misspoke” (see below).
If you suggest otherwise, you are a “liar,” and you will be asked why you hate your country so much, and how long you’ve been a leftist.
This term was originally coined to refer to people too fragile to cope with anything that challenges their personal identity or worldview. Snowflakes were people who were “triggered” by Halloween costumes, Shakespeare, portraits of college presidents, team mascots, and the use of the wrong pronoun.
Since the inauguration, the word has taken on new meaning. Now, “snowflake” refers to anyone who challenges or disagrees with the administration or its supporters in any way. It doesn’t matter if the disagreement is peaceful or violent. If you suggest the president’s travel ban is a ban, and point to his use of the word ban, you are a “snowflake,” and your opposition is the result of “butt-hurt.” If you point out that the president, and his supporters have implied (or said in so many words) that refugees are no different than illegal immigrants, and that lifting the ban (that isn’t a ban) will automatically result in a flood of machete-wielding rapists, you are a “snowflake.”
At the same time, the people who rioted at UC Berkeley to prevent Milo Yiannopoulous from speaking are also “snowflakes.” The only reason they use violence and fire to deprive Milo his right to free speech is that their sensitive feelings can’t handle the “truth,” and it hurts so much, they explode. In other words, in the post-Trump world, snowflakes burn, as well as melt.
By the way, even if you defend Milo’s right to free speech, if you disagree that rioters are fragile like snowflakes, you will be asked why you hate your country so much, and how long you’ve been a leftist.
Were you under the impression that a “fascist” was someone who supported nationalism, totalitarianism, militarism, ethnic purity, and social order under single party rule? Yeah, so was I, but that’s all changed. Apparently, fascists today are those who protest the Trump administration and its policies. People who dress in black, throw Molotov cocktails, and call their opponents “racists” and “fascists” are no longer Marxists, or anarchists. Never mind that both fascists and Marxists want to restrict free speech. The only people who can be legitimately called “fascists” are those who protest this president. If you try to call the president a “fascist,” you are, by Trump definition, a “fascist,” possibly even a “Nazi.”
In other words, “fascist” has lost all meaning. It is now a general epithet meaning roughly “bad.”
If you point out the irony that Trump’s election is similar in some respects to the rise of the original fascists of the early 20th C., expect to be asked why you hate your country so much, and how long you’ve been a leftist.
Synonym: Alternative fact
This is a tough one. Before January 20th, this word referred to any piece of information supported by objective evidence or reliable witness corroboration. Since then, a “fact” is evidence that supports the president’s position on something. If the information cannot be corroborated, or is directly contradicted by other evidence, especially put forth by the legacy media, it is an “alternative fact.”
Everything the administration says is factual. If the president says he had one of the largest crowds in history at his inauguration, and that it began to pour the minute he stepped off the podium, it happened that way. If you push the issue, and point to visual evidence contradicting him, you are not only being “petty,” and “attacking,” you are wrong, because his facts are “alternative facts” he has to provide because (duh) the media are a bunch of “liars.”
If you continue to argue the president is one lying, expect to be asked why you hate your country so much, and how long you’ve been a leftist.
Synonym: Information that is unflattering or critical
Speaking of lies, in the Trump era, all “news” is “fake” unless it explicitly praises the president. Even if the details are correct, if the headline dares to reflect an opinion, or draws a conclusion that is in any way critical or unflattering, the whole story is “fake.”
Rather than explain how a specific story is factually inaccurate, or exaggerated, President Trump will write off the entire publication or network as “fake news,” and will refuse to interact with any of its reporters.
If you make the mistake of trying to share “fake” news on social media, you will beset by trolls wielding the hashtag #FAKENEWS. If you want to be on the safe side, only share “news” from Breitbart, Fox News, the Drudge Report, or the White House itself. Anything else is “fake,” and you should ignore it.
If you suggest it’s dangerous for the president of the United States to cast so much doubt on the press as a whole, expect to be asked why you hate your country so much, and how long you’ve been a leftist.
Synonym: Nothing to see here, move along
When Barack Obama was president, people on the right side of the political spectrum were on high alert for anything the president might say that was not 100% factual or verifiable. If he said North Carolina was a “Gulf state,” for example, it was’t a mistake! It was a clear sign he was a moron, and the country was circling the drain.
President Trump has changed all that! Now, he and other administration officials can invent massacres that never happened, and draw moral equivalence between the United States and Putin’s Russia. If anyone raises an eyebrow, never mind an alarm, the explanation is simple: the speaker in question “misspoke.”
If you try to press the issue, or inquire as to why someone would “misspeak” about something as important as a terrorist attack, or our nation’s reputation on the world stage, you are again being “petty” and getting hung up on “semantics.”
Expect to be asked why you hate your country so much, and how long you’ve been a leftist.
Synonyms: Figuratively, Symbolically
The word “literally” has taken plenty of abuse over the years. People have sprinkled it around like salt on word salad, adding intensity, without the added flavor of meaning. That’s now how this president uses the word though. For him, it’s always to explain that you didn’t understand what he said the way he now wants you to understand it. If it was controversial, provocative, or just plain wrong, the fault lies with you. You shouldn’t take what he says so “literally!” He only meant it symbolically, that is of course, unless you agree with him, in which case you are right, because he’s a man of his word.
When the president says he cut Wall Street Reform because his “friends” need money, and you wince, that’s your problem. When he uses the word “ban” over and over and over again to refer to his Executive Order on Immigration, and people protest, he tells them to calm down, after all, he’s just using their word! It’s their problem if they don’t like it.
It can get confusing, because it sure seems like the president’s supporters are cheering based on a literal interpretation of his words. But if you aren’t cheering, despite interpreting the words the same way they are, they’ll still insist the problem lies with you. You just don’t understand. If only you would interpret his words the way they want you to, you would see how right he is! It It might go something like this:
You: “But it’s obviously a ban on Muslims.”
Them: “No it’s not, stop lying! Do you want Muslim terrorists to come here and start killing people?”
You could try to explain that they’ve just proved your point, but why waste your time? They’d just ask you why you hate your country so much, and how long you’ve been a leftist.
I’m old enough to remember when a hypocrite was a person who said “Do as I say, not as I do.” That’s all over now. Now, a hypocrite is anyone who criticizes President Trump without proof that they also criticized Obama’s every move. Be prepared with citations, dates, times, places, and screen grabs to prove your bonafides. Also bear in mind it’s not up to you to decide whether a scenario or policy is analogous. If the president or his supporters say it is, it is, and that’s all there is to it. If you weren’t equally outraged at Obama, you have no right to speak up now.
For example, it doesn’t matter that President Obama’s temporary ban on Iraqi immigration was not the same as Trump’s. You’re supposed to agree they are identical. So if you didn’t protest Obama’s, you have no “right” to protest Trump’s now.
If you disagree, you’ll be asked why you hate your country so much, and how long you’ve been a leftist.
Obviously this list is a work in progress. It’s only been two weeks, so I’m sure I’ll have more to add as the weeks (days?) go by. Just remember, when in doubt: It’s not a ban, and if you say it is, even if he said it first, you are a lying snowflake pushing fake news. You need to take the president at his word, but not literally, because he may have misspoken, so don’t get caught up in semantics, hypocrite.