As if we needed any more evidence as to why the Civic Commons wants its users to agree to be “civil” before engaging online, a Columbus Dispatch editorial declared last week, in regard to a social media incident involving the state Board of Education president, “This H-bomb is a dud: Invoking Hitler is unlikely to be a winning political strategy” and a highly regarded expert on online politicking likewise wrote of the same incident, “…dropping the H-bomb pretty much destroys the intellectual credibility of the dropper…”. That H-bomb, and many other words and utterances of name-calling, are the nuclear bomb equivalents of destroying any chance for meaningful, useful dialogue. And that is the opposite of what the Civic Commons seeks to promote.
Of course, linguistic laziness in unpacking and examining controversial topics isn’t committed solely by people in the poltiical arena. Last year, a food industry CEO apologized for comparing President Obama’s health care reform efforts to fascism because, as he admitted, the word “fascism” has “…so much baggage attached to it.” He went on to say that he thinks we need a new word to describe what he sees as the country, “…no longer hav[ing] free-enterprise capitalism in health care…[because t]he government is directing it.
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