by Julie Carr Smyth of the Associated Press
Before I go forward with commenting on this article I’d like to share the following. I think of myself as a reasonably intelligent individual. I’ve received both a undergraduate degree and a masters degree. In my undergraduate studies I did well enough in my first English course that they allowed me to take Honors English for the second course. I did well enough in that course that I was exempted from the requirement to take a third English course in order to graduate with a BA degree.
Despite a good background in English and writing, I’ve still struggled with what the actual name of the second political party in the United States is. One party is made up of individuals called Republicans. The party they belong to is called the Republican Party. The second major party is made up by individuals called Democrats. So despite my education and supposed skills in English, I struggle with the appropriate name of the party the Democrats belong to. Is it the Democrat Party? Or is it the Democratic Party? My problem arises from the following question:
“If Republicans belong to the Republican Party why don’t Democrats belong to the Democrat Party?”
That’s something I’ve struggled with for years. So when I’ve incorrectly called it the Democrat Party it hasn’t been out of disrespect, but of my confusion.
So imagine my surprise when I saw a story under the heading “Analysis” on the misstatement of the Democrats’ Party’s name. With all that is worthy of discussion at this time like a growing National Debt, huge Federal Deficits and consequences of transitioning to renewable energy sources, the misstatement of the Democrats’ party name hardly seems like something worthy of any discussion.
The reporter mentions that two days before the U.S. Capitol an elected Republican used the term “Democrat Party” as did an activist and Trump supporter who also called it the “Democrat Party”. The “journalist” goes on to claim:
“…it identified them as members of the same tribe, conservatives seeking to define the opposition through demeaning language.”
What comes next in the article is so ridiculous it causes me to laugh in disbelief:
“Amid bipartisan calls to dial back extreme partisanship following the insurrection, the intentional misuse of “Democrat” as an adjective…”
Julie goes on to claim:
“Academics and partisans disagree on the significance of the word play. Is it a harmless political tactic… or a maliciously subtle vilification of one of America’s two major political parties…”
Huh??? Possibly it is an unintentional mistake?
Julie goes on to reference two “academics” on the subject:
“Thomas Patterson a political communication professor at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy said using “Democrat” as an adjective delivers a ‘little twist‘…”
“Purposely mispronouncing the formal name of the Democratic Party and equating it with political ideas that are not democratic goes beyond mere incivility, said Vanessa Beasely, an associate professor of communications at Vanderbilt University.”
As I said, over the years I’ve struggled with “What is the name of the second major party? Is it Democrat or Democratic?” It’s never been a case of disrespect to that party, or the purposeful misuse of an “adjective”, it’s just been a case of a faulty memory. That, coupled with the fact that I continue to attempt to use logic.
“If Republicans belong to the Republican Party wouldn’t Democrats belong to the Democrat Party? If Republican can be both a noun and adjective, why isn’t Democrat both a noun and adjective?”
I can’t help but wonder how hard the Associated Press had to work to come up with the idea that an “analysis” piece on this subject was worthy of an article? And how hard did they have to look to find individuals who were willing to go on the record claiming that if an individual calls the “second major party” the “Democrat Party” it “goes beyond mere incivility”!
One final question might be: “Who at Gannett and the Chillicothe Gazette thought this piece was worthy of publishing?”