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Rick Johnson


I have for some time noted the Republican Party seems to have better advertising people working for them. They seem to be able to come up with such wonderful titles and slogans. Take, for example, the No Child Left Behind Act. How could anyone not be in favor of that, before, or more likely, without, reading it? Of course, I know many teachers who referred to it as the No Child Gets Ahead Act. But what does that matter in the field of advertising?

One of the keys to advertising is to get an idea implanted in someone’s mind, even if the phrase that sticks isn’t exactly the idea that sticks. That is, the product will come to mind, regardless of the reality. In the days of P.T. Barnum it was known as “humbug,” that is, nonsense.

However, in recent years, in the case of the Republican Party, this has taken a more sinister turn.

I noticed a while back Republicans stopped referring to the Democratic Party. They all use the term “Democrat Party.” By dropping the “ic,” they make everyone think of other “crats” they don’t want to deal with, especially bureaucrats. Since the new term is used almost without exception among Republicans, it seems implausible this is mere coincidence. It’s advertising and humbuggery.

In the last month, I have come across something even worse: articles to remind people we do not have a democracy, but a republic. Technically, they way they explain it, that is correct. Again, it is away to get people to stop even thinking of using the word “democratic” and always use the word “republican.” They don’t want to defeat a Democratic opponent, they want to erase all references that might get Democratic Party in your mind.

There is something wrong, even menacing, about the “republic” articles. It begins with the definition. A republic, according to more than one dictionary, is a government whose executive leader is not hereditary, as in a kingdom or empire. This leader can be elected or appointed. For example, a military junta can appoint its general as leader, and, although you may have a dictatorship, you still have a republic. Under one-party systems, this is the norm.

So what do we have in our country? We have a democratic republic in which the voters elect their leader. Of course, to fully state that, means we have to use that word Republicans cannot, it seems, bring themselves to say.

Rick Johnson is a retired pastor living in Waverly.


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