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A contemporary of Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, penned a series of acerbic commentaries and observations in a book, The Devil's Dictionary, still in print.
Some of his biting but spot-on definitions include:
Apologize, (verb) – to lay the foundation for a future offense.
Acquaintance, (noun) – A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to. A degree of friendship called slight when its object is poor or obscure, and intimate when he is rich or famous.
Politics, (noun) – A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
Year, (noun) – a period of three hundred and sixty-five disappointments.
Bierce was clear eyed about the human condition and politics in particular. One can only imagine what he would make of our current political landscape.
Consider some of today's words and phrases that would provide him with much to consider. He might hope that his scathing wit could prompt within us the wisdom we all need now. Channeling our inner "Ambrose Bierce," we might tackle these words with the following definitions:
Schadenfreude, (noun) – In German, it means taking pleasure in the pain of others; in Washington, it seems a state of being.
Power Player Profiteers, (noun) – Lobbyists, political advisors, and special interests reportedly sometimes masquerading as patriots.
Fifth Columnists, (noun) – Clandestine political forces hiding in plain sight while waiting for the moment we are distracted to undermine our democracy.
Gov't Oath of Office Pledge Abdicators, (noun) – Duplicity in the destruction of democracy by those sworn to uphold the law and our Constitution but who reportedly violate it.
Harvest Ballot Bandits, (noun) – Frequently paid co-conspirators creating new ways to elect candidates.
Open borders, (noun)– Destroying national sovereignty under the pretense that illegal immigrants are not terrorists or career felons looking to score in the States.
Inflation, (noun) – The destruction of America's middle class through the inept management of money and budget, often by those who will retire with large federal pensions.
High gas prices, (noun) – Bringing a new and painful meaning to the word "green," the price paid by American consumers for the dismantling of America's energy independence.
While any of these definitions may be considered subjective, what is unquestionable is that these words reflect many of the serious threats facing our nation today. Domestic dissension sowed by those seeking to unseat America's leadership role in the free world has the means to prevent us from leveraging America's enormous resources and national character to implement solutions. Without mobilizing a single soldier or firing one missile, our enemies believe they just need patience. It is time we recognized these threats and come together to protect America's position in a dangerous 21st Century.
Lawrence Kadish serves on the Board of Governors of Gatestone Institute.