Rhetoric Matters — Especially in Trump’s America: #NowWhat

Rhetoric Matters — Especially in Trump’s America: #NowWhat

This past week was full of cringe-worthy, heart-stoping, political moments. And most of those moments were because of rhetoric Trump or his administration said.

Words matter

In the past seven days, the following disturbing stories were printed…

“Climate change” is a now a “must-not-say” phrase within the USDA.

“A missive from Bianca Moebius-Clune, director of soil health, lists terms that should be avoided by staff and those that should replace them,” The Guardian reports.

“‘Climate change’ is in the ‘avoid’ category, to be replaced by ‘weather extremes’. Instead of ‘climate change adaption’, staff are asked to use ‘resilience to weather extremes’”.

Obviously, saying “weather extremes” rather than “climate change” makes the environmental crisis the planet is facing seem like a storm that will pass. Any climate wonk knows that this is, unfortunately, not true.

Trump then said that North Korea would see “fire and fury” like never before if the country escalates its military actions. First, it’s never great when a president of a country speaks like this to another country‘s leader. But it’s especially bad form when the country leader the American president is talking to responds to tense rhetoric with force and practice missile strikes.

The common thread


Trumped up, aggressive language, and toned-down language makes serious issues appear less dangerous, or more dangerous.

It’s no surprise that the Trump administration doesn’t blink when using hyped up or hyped down rhetoric to sell stories to the American people. In fact, this reality has become so common that much of the American public is tuning out the president’s words.

While understandable, this new normal could prove detrimental to engaging the public. Because, when we continue to hear extreme rhetoric about Trump taking action against North Korea, we tend to tune him out. Same with climate change. Extreme weather doesn’t sound as scary, or as permanent, as “climate change”. After all, if this extreme isn’t permanent, why support alternative energy?

So, think twice before talking, Mr. Trump. Because your words — and tweets — hurt all of us more than you think.

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Abbie Stutzer

Writer, editor, and owner of Ginchy!, a freelance writing and editing company, and home funeral hub. Adores smart sex ed, sustainable ag, spooky history, women's health, feminism, horror, wine, and sci-fi.