By Daniel Rigney
As a kid growing up behind the Pine Curtain of east Texas, I heard more than my share of cultural and political cliches. You may have heard some of these yourself if you grew up in a red region, or maybe even if you didn’t.
Each of the platitudes below expresses a partial or sometimes-truth, but each is also seriously incomplete or misleading. Changing just a word or two can turn a cliche’ on its head (or, if you prefer, stand it on its feet), revealing a truth that the original conceals.
Submitted for your consideration:
“There are some things you can’t learn from books,” but there are also many things you can learn from books. Why devalue reading?
“A lot of ‘A’ students are working for ‘C’ students now,” but probably even more ‘C’ students are working for ‘A’ students. Why devalue academic achievement?
“That’s good enough for government work,” but not if you want government to work (which some apparently don't).
“Free Enterprise: It Lets You Be Somebody.” How about “Free Enterprise: It Lets You Beat Somebody”?
“Competition has made America great.” But sometimes competition has also made America grate.
“When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” Not true. When guns are outlawed, only outlaws and law enforcement will have guns -- and anyone else duly authorized.
“Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” Instead, how about: “Guns don’t kill people. People with guns kill people.” The overwhelming majority of homicides in the United States each year are with committed with handguns.
Do you have a favorite cultural or political platitude that needs a good tweaking? Please share it with us here.