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April 11, 2017

Gravitas and 'Messages'

Harry M. Covert

I lost count of the times in the past few days I heard and read that "Mr. Trump finally became president," that he "has sent a message" and "there's a new sheriff in town."


Would you, dear reader, please understand "the clock is ticking?"


My, how bags of clichés are bombarding us at every turn. They come in handy especially when users find it difficult to scour their mental capacities for other verbiage.


I'd be fibbing, or little white lying, to try and suggest I spent the weekend turning pages of Webster's and Oxford dictionaries to soften the use of the trite expressions.


Those magnificent lexicons are so valuable. However, "I cannot tell a lie." I took the "easy way out." I googled and discovered "in a nano second" the following:


"There are 171,476 words in current (English) use and 47,156 obsolete words. To this may be added around 9,500 derivative words included as subentries." Thanks Mr. or Mrs. Google.


It is not unusual for professional word purveyors to copycat popular expressions. After all, it is "easy as pie" to look in the grab bag to pick over-used phrases.


"Heavenly days, McGee!" Only old time radio fans will recall that in all probability.


Sir Winston Churchill once said, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat." Eloquent as he lifted the hopes of WWII Britons. He may have borrowed it.


Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." He had some editing assistance.


Harry S Truman may have said "Bombs away."


The Trump White House in Florida had a message loud and clear: "missiles to Syria's killer eye doctor dictator." Done. "Pass the salad please!"


Last week in the United States Senate the "smart people" figuratively said "nuclear."


On Monday, they were swearing at the U.S. Supreme Court. Neil Gorsuch became Justice Number Nine for life and first in the hearts of "real Americans, and sisters and brothers at the Bar.”


There's a cliché here: "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it."


Now with all the gravitas swirling around, maybe, just maybe, those headed "to Hell in a hand basket" aren't the most powerful in the world, but those murderous and thieving dictators who keep appearing.


Consider this popular cliché:


There's "a time for war and a time for peace."


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