Dachau

Dachau: (n) a city in SE Germany, near Munich, the site of Nazi concentration camp.

We forget how dangerous populists can be—because they always say such popular things.

It would be difficult to be critical of a man proclaiming the delicious virtues of chocolate until you realized he was advocating only the consumption of chocolate—to the exclusion of everything else—thus leaving his followers to many dangerous acquired conditions.

Adolph Hitler was a populist.

Long before he was a dictator—perhaps even before he became maniacal—he was a public speaker touting the exceptional nature of the German people.

He explained to them how they had been mistreated among the Europeans after World War I and that it was necessary, for the good of their heritage, to rise up and be counted.

That’s how he started.

It was difficult to disagree with him. Germany had been devastated by the First World War. There was a need for some sort of pep rally, to inspire a renovation.

But as I said, long before populists become dictators, they seem to be prophets of possibility and messengers for magnification.

When does it change?

When do populists–who seem harmless–need to be recognized for their vicious natures and set to the side or pushed out of our lives, so we don’t elevate them to positions of authority, where all of their overwrought ideas can be manifested?

That’s easy.

When the populist starts making a group—a nationality, a gender, a lifestyle or a race—the source of all difficulty and preaches that the situation could be greatly alleviated by targeting these offending individuals.

For Hitler, it was the Jews.

Candidly, he would never have gotten away with killing Jews if the German people didn’t secretly harbor a deep-rooted prejudice against them. Going back to the music of Wagner and the lesser works of Martin Luther, there was an abiding notion in the Germanic tribe that the Jews were responsible for most evil things.

For you see, no populist could have brought about such a dastardly genocide of an innocent people without feeding off the nervous apprehension of those who came to hear.

The end result is Dachau—a prison camp organized for one purpose: to find unique and efficient ways to torture and annihilate the Jewish race.

Perhaps we should do ourselves a favor in this election season.

We should acknowledge that there are populists who desire to rule our country. Their messages may seem innocuous at this point. Matter of fact, it may appear that they are merely extolling the value of American purity or standing up for the poor and disenfranchised.

But listen carefully.

Are they whispering words of disdain, or even hatred, in the direction of a particular group of people?

What is it they are saying about humans with brown skin?

What is it they’re intimating about citizens with a lot of money?

What is their stand on gender equality?

What do they think about those brothers and sisters around them who are different?

I never listen to a populist—no matter how humorous or inspiring the message might seem.

For a populist who honors fat people will eventually do so by portraying that skinny people are evil.

And a populist who regales the beauty of being thin and healthy will eventually encourage you to hate the obese.

We can prevent Dachau.

We can remove the fuel from the ovens that killed millions of souls.

Stop feeling the need to constantly be encouraged, or eventually you will steal someone else’s dignity to supplement your own.

 

Critter

Critter: (n) any creature.

Painful as it may seem, sometimes you just have to make a decision.

Neutrality may appear to be a safer ploy, but if you continue to insist that you can go one way or another, you usually end up going nowhere.

I will give you two examples of what I’m talking about.

The first one would be our selected word for the day—”critter.”

Although Webster insists it is synonymous—equal, if you will—to the word “creature,” you and I know it is not.

If I were sitting at a dinner with people of education, prominence and self-imposed superiority, and I were to utter the word “critter,” they would immediately assume that the conversation needed to be doled out in syllables of less than three.

Yes, I would be classified as a bumpkin.

I might be viewed as a hillbilly.

Considered quaint, but not cute.

And they would be afraid that I might break out into strains of Dixie, insisting that “the South will rise again.”

I don’t care what state you’re from (except maybe Mississippi). If your governor kept referring to creatures as critters, you might think it was a populist choice. But even if you were a small-town type person, you would be suspicious about trusting this individual to be in charge of the state treasury.

No, I don’t think you can say “critter” and not have all the accoutrements, sins, attributes and burdens of the Dixon part of the Mason cast upon you.

The same thing is true with the word “y’all.”

You can say, “All of you,” or “us together,” but the minute you say “y’all,” memories of moonshine and the Klan pop into the mind of your hearer, and you are cast among the ignorant.

I am not saying I agree with this, considering that I lived in the South for many years. But I have also traveled all over, and even though I grew up in Ohio, if I go to Wisconsin, they will insist I have a Southern accent.

It’s not because I have a drawl or a twang.

It is simply because sometimes I chat y’all up ‘bout ma’ critters.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


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