LLOYD GRAY: A sinister word?

By Lloyd Gray/NEMS Daily Journal

News item: President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign slogan “Forward” has been assailed by conservative critics as a word long associated with Marxist-Leninism, proving once and for all that he’s a socialist.
I was glad to get this alert because it brought to mind previous uses of this word, “forward,” in political contexts that most of us had no idea were so sinister. But obviously it was code to clue in those in the know.
There was, for example, Haley Barbour. His second term as governor assured after re-election in 2007, he chose for his January 2008 inauguration the theme “Moving Forward Together.” Little did we know.
While few people would have suspected Barbour’s ties to socialism, there they are for everyone to see.
His successor, thankfully, avoided use of the word. Phil Bryant’s inaugural theme was “Rising Together,” which still has a rather ominous communitarian sound, but at least not that word.
Bryant saved us from someone who did use it, though, in the Republican primary for governor. Obviously, Barbour and Dave Dennis were fellow travelers. Here’s proof in what Dennis said during the campaign:
“When Haley’s gone, there’s going to be a phenomenal leadership void in this state. The person who has the best leadership abilities, the best executive experience and understands job creation is going to be the person that moves Mississippi forward in the most expeditious manner.” Dennis is a long-time Gulf Coast businessman, the better to hide his obvious socialistic leanings.
Then there’s the group “Mississippi Forward” based in Oxford. It’s described as an affiliate of the National Taxpayers Union and as “a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization whose main purpose is to campaign for lowering taxes in Mississippi.”
With that name? A well-thought-out diversionary tactic, no doubt.
And speaking of Oxford, I hate to bring this up, but there it is, clear as day: Evidence of the socialistic foundation of Ole Miss athletics. The name of the university’s official fight song, after all, is “Forward Rebels.”
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Our politics, on both the right and left, has degenerated into a never-ending game of “gotcha.” Both arch-conservatives and arch-liberals are guilty of name-calling, one-upmanship and distorted caricature of the opposition that leave no room for the mutual understanding and respect that leads to consensus.
The very word “consensus” is a dirty one in many eyes, and “compromise” a downright abomination. We can’t solve our daunting problems as long as this attitude prevails.
The news item above is true, but the rambling that follows, of course, is satire. Experience tells me that I need to say that lest it be taken literally by some.
We are in the early stages of a relentless presidential campaign in which both sides will distort words and issues for their own purposes in ways that can, and will be, thrown back in their face. Voter, beware.
Lloyd Gray is executive editor of the Daily Journal. Contact him at (662) 678-1579 or lloyd.gray@journalinc.com.