Stop Profanity From Becoming Celebrated Political Speech

There's no shortage of foul language in politics, but profanity has become ubiquitous, so why celebrate its use?

Somehow the phenomenon of an Irishman in Texas cussing like a sailor has become a cause célèbre for liberal fabulists who call Robert Francis O'Rourke "Beto." The same media and Democrat apologists think that O'Rourke's "salty mouth" might be gaining him votes, despite the reality of incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz's 8-point lead in latest polling.

The Houston Chronicle pointed out that cussing in politics is nothing new. Lyndon Johnson had a famously filthy mouth, and Richard Nixon had his share of "expletive deleted" moments in his White House tapes. And let's not forget former Vice President Joe Biden's "big f-ing deal" remark.

But cussing in public speech, in main stream news articles, on television, and in general, everywhere, is as bad as I have ever seen it.

Between 2005 and 2010, TV profanity increased 69% according to Family Safe media. There's not much you can't say on TV anymore, with deregulated cable and lax standards, according to a 2016 Washington Post report. Gone are the quaint days when George Carlin could shock everyone with his "seven words you can't say" comedy routine. Now, cussing is just like speaking. Just get on Twitter for 10 minutes and look up half the mnemonics used in common tweets (anything in the long-form format "for ____ sake" or "as ____" is shortcut profanity).

Personally, I used to be a potty-mouth. I'm not proud of it, but I've cussed, profaned the Lord's name, and cursed in ways that make Donald Trump or O'Rourke look like choir boys. I did it as a matter of speech pattern. It was how I talked.

When I moved from the profane north to genteel Georgia, I was taken aside by a kindly lady, who happened to be my division chief at Robins AFB. She told me, upon hearing my manner of speech, that "we don't use that language here." So I shut up at work.

The real change in me happened when I became a Christian. For some, accepting Christ sanctifies by them giving up the bottle. For some, it's other venal activities and sins. For me, one of the first and most lasting changes of sanctification was my mouth. I simply stopped cursing. I had no desire to, and hearing those words actually makes me cringe (like a recovering alcoholic watching people get drunk).

I'm not saying I'm Mister Super Perfect. But in general, in order for me to cuss, it's got to be a nuclear-sized hammer dropping on my foot, or an extremely emotionally heated moment. And even then, the worst I generally utter is the "S-word."

And here's my beef. The "S-word" barely qualifies as a cuss word anymore. I've read articles by decent people on various topics blandly describing something as "s***ty" like it was a normal adjective. But that's not an adjective I want my 9-year-old using or hearing (I'm sure he hears it).

We try to filter YouTube and other social media, but I can't avoid my kids hearing those words, as well as a host of others that used to be cuss words and are now apparently no longer considered even profane. I won't list those words here. I get tempted to use them but I catch myself (that "cringe" hits). Am I a prude? Probably. I'm just sensitive in the way a former smoker gets when drinking at a bar and absently--innocently--offered a cigarette. I have to catch myself.

My point is that we celebrate politicians for using language in public that used to be reserved for private conversations between adults. We allow those words to filter down from R-rated movies to PG-13, to PG, to everyday use, everywhere. We take what is profane and celebrate it.

We should not celebrate politicians dropping F-bombs in public. That kind of language has no place in public civil discourse. Shame on O'Rourke for using it to somehow try to make himself more relevant, when his actual ideas fail to capture voters in Texas. (Then again, O'Rourke's entire campaign is one big studio backlot--a facade.)

Can we please stop making profanity normal and vilifying people who don't enjoy using it or hearing it? Or do I have to become a victim class like lactating mothers or straw-banning environmentalists for this to gain traction? Don't answer that.

Comments
No. 1-9
Chefcam
Chefcam

Yes thanks for bringing this out. It’s worse when “ladies” cuss. It makes me cringe!!

MittenTom
MittenTom

I used to curse roundly at work, but not outside. Today, I teach my confirmation classes that the worst word they can use is "damn", because it calls upon God to send something to hell. Any use of the word "God" is immediately called to their attention; usually there's an immediate apology. So they know. It's just a matter of making them aware.

Oregun
Oregun

Thanks for raising the bar.

FloridaMan
FloridaMan

I boiled on this until I found a solution. The DNC is a lost cause and it ain't my party so I don't care, but the RNC should just levy fines on the campaign coffers of candidate who get caught swearing on video. It's a high level equivalent of the swear jar from high school. (Did anyone else have that? Someone swears, drop a quarter in it?) Except that it'll cost you 225,000$ dollars off your next ad buy.

dkbtwo
dkbtwo

A thousand pardons if I get this incorrect. I believe the phrase often used is politics is downstream of culture. And it seem culture has become to be defined as 99% entertainment forms (movies, music, books, etc). So...it should come as no shock that such communication (or lack of communication skills) have filtered throughout our lives. I too had to once overcome this habit (picked up while in college...around the time Carlin's "7 words" skit was popular...I confess to finding it humorous...but now am embarrassed to say so). Alas, crude language is but one of the many "one time taboos" that have become so commonplace most people (and sometimes even me) hardly bat an eye (can you still say bat an eye...or is that now sexist...or worse assaulting language). Trying to shine the "Light" into this present darkness grows harder with each passing day...yet that is our task (proud member of the prude club????)