On Jan. 4, 2021, Emanuel Cleaver, D-Missouri, offered the opening prayer before the House of Representatives. In an attempt to honor new rules of verbal inclusivity for the 117th Congress, he selected his words carefully and closed by saying, “Amen…and a-woman.”
Hello, Congressman Cleaver – certainly as a Methodist minister (yes, he IS one…) you must know that “amen” is derived from the Hebrew Āmēn, which means “certainty” or “truth.” It’s like saying, “So be it” and has nothing to do with gender!
The representative’s lame utterance in a moment of solemnity immediately drew heat on social media.
“Unfortunately, facts are irrelevant to progressives,” tweeted Republican Rep. Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania.
Similar sentiments came from Donals Trump Jr. and others.
Also, it’s worth noting that when Cleaver voiced “a-woman,” evidently he forgot that the word “woman” contains the word “man” – so double demerits for him!
The Democrats intend to “honor all gender identities by changing pronouns and familial relationships in the House rules to be gender neutral.”
No more him, he, or her.
No more father, mother, aunt, uncle, sister, brother and so on.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refers to the new rules as “bold reforms” that she claims will make the House “more accountable, transparent and effective in our work to meet the needs of the American people.”
Pelosi went on to say, “I am pleased to join Chairman Jim McGovern in introducing this visionary rules package,…”
Did she even notice her use of the term “chairman”? What, indeed, will they substitute? The word “chair,” evidently. Quite dehumanizing, but perhaps that’s the idea.
In one section, the rules suggest eliminating the use of the phrase ‘‘himself or herself’’ and substituting ‘‘themself.’’
Themself? Grammarians are rolling over in their graves!
Someone notify Microsoft – when typing this article on my computer, MS Word automatically corrected the word to “themselves.” Which it should have!
Since Rep. Cleaver seems to think that “amen” is a sexist word, perhaps he’ll recommend the removal of others in the congressional lexicon. Sprinkled liberally throughout the rules are the following terms containing the dreaded three letters “man” or “men” — manipulated, demand, manage, performance, command, human (obviously, this one has to GO), establishment, requirement, recommendation, amendment (particularly egregious, since the offensive phrase appears TWICE).
Obviously I’m joking, but censorship of our language marches on relentlessly.
The University of Michigan established a “Words Matter” Task Force for the very purpose of curtailing free speech. They issued a 10-page report in December regarding “terms and language conventions that may hinder effective communication, harm morale and deliberately or inadvertently exclude people from feeling accepted.” (Hey, you don’t want to do anything inadvertent!) In an effort to “foment a healthy and inclusive culture,” the task force is seeking the elimination of gendered words and pronouns.
That’s unsurprising, but they also suggest the removal of some other words and phrases, and I’m sure they’re just getting started. Here are a few examples — brown bag, gypped, long time no see, native, picnic, sold down the river.
You can read the report online; try not to gag. http://bit.ly/UofMichReport
I chronicled this creeping censorship in my February 2019 column. At the time, state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, had announced that only “gender neutral” pronouns would be permitted during her Judiciary Committee hearings.
Happy to abridge free speech rights, Jackson rejected the use of gender-specific pronouns. She (excuse me, “they”) proceeded with committee business, and promptly broke the new rules, which you can see in this video clip: http://bit.ly/Theyself.
Thankfully, she (yes, SHE) was termed out in 2020, but her legacy has migrated to Washington, DC.
But not fully. When Joe Biden continually pops up with, “C’mon, man!” does anyone correct him (or should I say “them”)?
Do high-ranking political figures fall outside the terminology rules? What are representatives and visitors going to call Nancy Pelosi? “Madame Speaker” has to be deemed inappropriate. May I suggest “Mad Speaker” instead?
Next question. If gender is unimportant or fluid, why were Democrats so excited to see a female vice presidential candidate? We’re all the same, right?
It’ll be interesting to see how this death-of-pronouns mentality will equate with movements like #MeToo and #BelieveAllWomen.
#MeToo can mean anyone, I suppose, but will #BelieveAllWomen have to become #BelieveAllPeople? That would be a refreshing change, although in my book, the number of people telling the truth these days — especially in the halls of power — has dwindled significantly.
Patricia Suzanne is a professional writer, retired small business owner, and conservative activist. She was born and raised in California, where once upon a time, under Republican leadership, the state grew into a model of prosperity for the world. She is now embarrassed to reveal her state of residence.