Words are important. What we say and how we say it matters. Just as what we hear and how we hear it matters. Some people say,”Words have power.” Well, I say,”Horse-hockey” (to quote M.A.S.H.’S Col. Sherman Potter).
Words, in and of themselves, have no power except how we, the people, imbue them… either actively through tone and volume, or passively by how we react to them. Most of us have heard some variation of the saying. ‘Stick and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me.”, usually when we were children. Sometimes we forget those early lessons.
That is why people can be manipulated by phrases, slogans, brand names, bumper stickers, etc. We forget that they are “just words” and react to them instead of thinking about their meaning (definition) or the intent of the source of those words.
We forget that we, the people have the power to determine how those words affect us. For example, one of the rallying cries of the American Revolution was,”Taxation without representation”. That eventually got “translated” into a resistance to all taxes. If we think about the meaning of those words and the combination, we can see that the true complaint was about lack of representation.
Representatives from each Colony were sent to reach a consensus about the formation of a new government in the Colonies. One that hoped to maintain the power of people to have a voice in how and by whom they would be governed.
Again, the quest was not to “abolish government” but to make it “representative” of the needs of the people. The system has been modified over time as the needs of the people evolved through variety and numbers. However, the basic institutions and roles of how that government could and should act have remained intact.
We still hold elections to select “representatives” to reach a consensus about how we, as a people, should be governed. When these representatives gather for discussions and debates, they have rules of procedure to keep the discussions orderly and (hopefully) more productive.
Sometimes only partial consensus is reached and factions with differing views try to persuade as many of their fellow representatives as possible to adopt their view. As with all groups of people, some of these representatives were more persuasive than others and were recognized as “leaders” of different factions. Then “political parties” were formed as organizations to support those “leaders”.
Somewhere along the line, those representatives and we, the people both forgot the intention of having a government.
Soon the dialogue changed from “selecting representatives” to “electing leaders” and “supporting parties”. That changed the dynamics of the process.
Now instead of the government addressing the needs of the people by reaching a consensus, the political parties were battling for support to maintain their power.
Words are important. How we say them, how we hear them, how they are defined and how we react to them really does matter. Power to the People.