Words and Their Uses

I love words. I love playing with words. I respect words, and what they can do to uplift or bring down. Build or destroy. Comfort or agitate. Words should be treated with caution, I believe, because words are forever. Though invisible when spoken, they cling, worm their way into your subconscious. When written, they do the same, but they are more obvious, more readily reviewed in total, without variation.

Stating the obvious, I am now putting words on “paper” (digital though it may be), and those words will become part of me, part of my life, part of my identity. Because they are “out there”, for any who wish to read. To quote. To misquote. Which leads me to the purpose of this blog, my realization that words taken out of context, words distorted to represent what I want them to rather than the whole truth, pushes my buttons faster than anything else I can think of. I have found my pet peeve. I have found what wakens my passion, my indignation.

The other day, a friend showed me a petition she’d gotten at her church. In perfect innocence, without any idea a volcano was about to erupt. The petition itself was harmless, really, but the letter that accompanied it to explain its purpose, was, in my view, completely the opposite. Not innocent, not harmless.

The petition was protesting a recent bill passed by the state of Oregon – a bill explaining funding for the Oregon version of Planned Parenthood. The bill funds another bill that would “reimburse costs of services, drugs, devices, products and procedures related to reproductive health provided to individuals who can become pregnant and who would be eligible for medical assistance if not for certain federal requirements”. The bill also requires that insurers provide coverage for abortions for all women, regardless of “citizenship or gender identity”. There is allowance for exemptions for religious organizations.

To my way of thinking, we may or may not agree with the concept of abortion, but we are fortunate to have the freedom to make up our own minds. I believe that we should have the same freedom to choose whether to have an abortion. I may vehemently disagree with you about the morality of that decision, but it is not up to my beliefs to dictate your actions. Your actions are not harming me, they will have no effect whatsoever on my life, or the lives of those around me. I equate it to making choices about how I eat – I prefer vegetarianism, you like your red meat. Fine. It’s a matter of personal choice.

So back to the letter that came with the petition. The letter stated that this bill would enable people to have abortions to make gender choice – that is, they were told the fetus was a boy, but they wanted a girl = abortion. NO! That’s not what the health plan says – it says the patient should be allowed to have an abortion regardless of the patient’s “gender identity”. The letter emphasized, in a negative way, that our tax dollars would pay for non-citizens to have an abortion. That part is true – but the bill covers so much more. I resent the distortion of the words used in the description of the coverages the plan affords, I resent the obvious emphasis on the negative. I resent that they didn’t also explain the undeniably good parts of what it covers. The prenatal care, the postnatal care, the mammograms, regular checkups, all of those good things. Factually, in 2015, Oregon had a population of 4.025 million. Out of that number, there were 8,610 abortions performed. That’s .002%, which means a very very small portion of my tax dollars would have gone towards the cost.

Another irritant in all of this is that it took me quite a lot of digging to find out what those tax dollars for that funding would actually be covering. The petition and the letter referred to Oregon House Bill 2391, which is the number of the bill for funding, but does not explain coverages, the very thing the letter was emphasizing. Those coverages actually come under Oregon Chapter 414, where I found House Bill 3391 – finally! A description of the coverages.

My whole point here is that we need to arm ourselves with the facts before we make our decisions, but the groups supporting/not supporting certain positions do not make it easy to do that. Which brings me back to that thing that most quickly raises my ire – my pet peeve. The use of words to distort, to disfigure, to lead astray, to misinform. Yes, I know – that’s the job of those who are paid to write the speeches, write the text for convincing the public to buy their product or support their position. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. So – what I would ask is that you question, always question. Accepting things on face value is a luxury not often afforded these days. My friend asked me what she’s supposed to do – dig and read the text that was not meant for the average person’s consumption? My answer: Yes! Search. Google is a wonderful thing – there is much to be learned. Yes, you may spend some time, but that would probably be time wisely invested, right?

That’s it, that’s my rant for today. Represented by my ink below – it’s a black cloud that blows innuendo and misrepresentation.

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About Carol

I'm me - nothing unusual, just me. Widowed, 2 grown children who are my best friends, 2 dogs, 1 cat, retired, loving being retired. I am woman, I am strong.
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11 Responses to Words and Their Uses

  1. Carol — ” Words should be treated with caution, I believe, because words are forever. Though invisible when spoken, they cling, worm their way into your subconscious.”

    My mother used to say, “Make your words sweet and tender today, for tomorrow you may have to eat them.”

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Robin says:

    This is a pet peeve of mine, too, Carol. It often gets me into trouble on Facebook. I think we all have a responsibility to look things up if we’re going to pass them on as “truth.” There are folks who disagree with that, and one person, when I told him it took me about 10 seconds to debunk the meme he was passing along, commented “It’s FACEbook, not FACTbook.” He was right about that.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. lakeafton says:

    Reblogged this on lakeafton and commented:
    Yes, words matter. Words come from our lips–speak without thinking of the harm and hurt they may cause. Words spoken that show caring and love which may give peace to another.

    Words written in truth or lies. They matter.

    Be careful with your words. Know that you are giving the truth of a matter before repeating them.

    Words written to

    Liked by 1 person

  4. loisajay says:

    Some people don’t want to take the time to read all the words. Shame on them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bravo, Carol. You speak my mind, and more succintly than I could ever hope to convey.

    Misquote is just as dangerous as incomplete quote. Our woody campus had to axe down some predatory trees in the recent past due to court orders, and the media picked up on it and dissed the management for deforestation – completely blacking out the “court order”. But the worst thing was that once the banned trees were cut down, the management has been actively planting alternate, indigenous and beneficial trees to replace the ones that were cut down. You’d think the media would breathe a word about it? Ha.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Bravo, Carol. As I was reading, and when I reached the sentence “My friend asked me what she’s supposed to do – dig and read the text that was not meant for the average person’s consumption?” I was yelling in my head, “Yes! Read! Be informed!”

    I get that sometimes there is a lot of complex and unfamiliar material to wade through, but it is mandatory reading. If you don’t or won’t read, at the very least, you must remain ambivalent – and, I must stress, ADMIT it – until you are satisfied that you are informed about at LEAST two sides. Because we all know that for every “pro” presented, there is a least one that is opposed.

    I hope you were successful in opening her eyes.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Ally Bean says:

    I agree with you. Words have power and educating yourself is mandatory if you want to live in a democratic society. I wonder when it was that Facts became the Enemy for so many people?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lisa says:

    I completely agree one needs has a responsibility to be informed of the facts. Sadly, “facts” are far too often overlooked in the age of instant gratification. Heck, it’s hard to research and decipher words that are facts and words that are manipulated to appear as facts. The church should have laid out the facts in their letter without the added commentary. I’m sure there are aspects of the bill that appeal to some but have provisions that are unacceptable to others. On first blush, its current form, there would probably be certain stipulations I would not support. But I would not need an impassioned letter if I took the time to look into the details. Ahhhhh…..there’s the catch…..taking time to actually read and discern facts from passion. Passion is good….but sometimes the passionate can step over the line and blur the facts in order to try and advance their own agendas. For as advanced as our society is, we are woefully misinformed and extremely under read, [referrig to be spoon fed our “news” without question. Okay, my rant is now finished too!! Hope the rest of your week goes smoothly. Happy reading!!

    Liked by 1 person

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