I am both a social and fiscal conservative. I don’t like government getting involved in private matters. To my way of thinking, social conduct should be left to the individual conscience, not a collective government conscience. And fiscal conservatism means, simply, that government should act prudently concerning spending money. This implies that a good portion of our yearly government spending could and should be pared to a bare minimum. After all, government does not earn money. Every red cent that government deals with comes from an often unwilling source and that is taxpayers.

People make money. Government confiscates money.

Because of my political beliefs, people label me a right-winger, or even worse, a right-wing radical. Such labels don’t fit me and neither do they fit anyone else. The same goes for the opposite. I would much rather say that someone opposes governmental fiscal responsibility than to just call them a tax-and-spend liberal.

Buzzwords bad

Considering all these terms I have thus far highlighted, are any of them all that useful? To a degree, perhaps. But if we never use them we won’t suffer much. There are other terms, harmful ones, that we throw around without even thinking about what they mean and what harm they might engender.

For instance, some liberal Democrats have taken to calling anyone who supports the Trump administration, “fascist.” I wonder if the majority of those who wantonly dispense that word even understand its meaning. Somehow I doubt it and that is where problems begin. It’s too easy to employ catchall phrases, although almost everyone does it. It’s much harder to identify something and call it what it is.

Sadly, some conservatives have pet words for the liberal Democrats. These include “moonbat,” “loon,” “commie” and in the case of overly sensitive college students, “snowflakes.” It would all be comical if it weren’t so harmful.

It gets worse. We have a brand-new term to banter about now and I’m not certain just who coined it. The term is “deep state” and it refers to embedded workers from the previous administration who promote an underground resistance to the current administration. Instead of inventing a new phrase, why not just call such persons criminals? “Criminal” pretty much says it all. And it is neither vague nor opaque.

Speak plainly

All these buzzwords have one thing in common and that is they each and every one do nothing to solve even one single problem. Quite the reverse, actually. These words and terms often cause problems and as of late, some of those problems include violence being wrought upon innocent victims. This is not so much true in Maine, but nationwide it has become a societal cancer.

Often, we fail to emphasize our feelings on any particular topic because we do not speak plainly. I often ponder the words of Jesus, who said, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” That’s good advice for anyone of any faith.

As an example of how we go to lengths to avoid saying anything definite, consider the case of the politician who gets presented with something that requires a yes or no answer. Never, ever, does the politician say “yes” or “no,” but rather, goes on a long, drawn-out diatribe that leaves listeners wondering what the question was in the first place. This applies to politicians of all persuasions.

One of my friends frequently says, “You and your right-wing buddies ought to like this.” Then he goes on to say whatever is on his mind. But guess what? I dislike being called a “right-winger.” Please don’t lump me in with whatever group sounds good at the time. Instead, confront me on some solid topic. Then we can have a real discussion, whether or not we agree on anything is beside the point.

All this right-wing, left-wing, right-of-center and left-of-center is just so much blather. Besides that, when engaging someone in conversation, prefacing our words with right-wing or left-wing automatically sets up a barrier to further discourse. Instead, why not just come right to the point?

None of this is to intimate that it isn’t perfectly permissible and acceptable to espouse any form of political sentiment. Doing so is far better than using meaningless terms or, worse, using words in a manner contrary to the dictionary definition.

Furthermore, we each and every one of us should be proud of our political beliefs. And if we are not, then we might possibly consider changing those beliefs. In other words, if something is indefensible, then don’t defend it. But if, whatever the situation, you are wholly behind you-name-it, then stand proud.

Tom Seymour is a freelance magazine and newspaper writer, book author, naturalist and forager. He lives in Waldo.