Op-Ed

Tired of people labeling me, playing with words

Thomas W. Downey
Thomas W. Downey

What’s my beef?

I’ll tell you my beef.

My beef is being told I’m xenophobic and other such things that are not true. Xenophobic was never used until it began to show up as an insult. The word seems to have recently morphed from being a dislike of things different from you into an irrational fear of those from other countries, giving it a more political meaning.

People who are in favor of building a border wall, or who believe in enforcing immigration laws, are now without fail considered to be xenophobic. The only time the word will ever be used will be to mock and ridicule anyone who does not agree with open borders and unlimited immigration. Discussion and actually looking into any issue is no longer a viable option. Insults and name-calling have become the order of the day, and are becoming more and more popular.

I am also not fond of being called homophobic.

To use an old cliché, some of my best friends are gay. People are now being called homophobic and anti-gay, if they do not line up with every single LGBTQ issue. There may not be any issue, group or political activity that I agree with in totality, however, calling people homophobic seems to come easy for those active in gay issues.

It’s a shame that the days are gone of persuading people of your way of looking at something is reasonable and advantageous to all. As with so many things today, ridicule and insults are the first line of defense.

I must admit, I was not thrilled with seeing male soldiers holding hands at Fort Knox, but it didn’t change my feelings for gay people. I would not be thrilled with seeing any soldiers holding hands, whether gay or not. The way people at times say to heterosexual mates and their displays of affection, “Get a room!” would be the same for homosexual mates and their displays.

It doesn’t mean one is anti-gay, or homophobic, it just means they prefer bedroom activity to stay in the bedroom. Somehow, it makes “don’t ask, don’t tell” make some strange kind of sense.

What’s my beef? I’ll tell you my beef.

I’ve got a beef with all the “Russian oligarch” talk. Oligarch came out of nowhere, probably to keep the Russian narrative going, but it just seems pretentious. An oligarchy is a small group of people having control of a country, but the use of Russian oligarch to describe what is basically a rich businessman just doesn’t sit right with me.

A plutocracy would be rule by the rich, but the oligarchs making news lately are just rich businessmen. To say John Doe spoke with a Russian oligarch is just another way of saying he spoke with a wealthy businessman. Russia has long been known for having some wealthy people. I know men who got their mail-order brides from Russia, and the entrepreneurs there were making lots of money.

“Dog whistle” has also been rubbing me the wrong way. It has almost gotten to where if one says he went down the street, someone will say yes, but that is a dog whistle to his supporters.

It has gotten really outrageous, but it is just the time in which we live. Of course, that is itself a dog whistle to those who want to go back to the past.

There are plenty of sayings and expressions being used I do not like. It would be OK if they were a part of doing an actual news report. Sadly, even on what are considered hard-news outlets, there is no hard news. There is mostly bias and opinion, mixed with ridicule, mockery and some posturing.

There is also some playing with the latest shiny object, which is yet another beef of mine. You want to think things will change, but I don’t know.

Reach Thomas W. Downey of Louisville at twayned@bellsouth.net.

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