Platitudes are defined by Webster as “a remark or statement, especially one with a moral content, that has been used too often to be interesting or thoughtful”.
Platitudes can also be the result of repeating an assumed “fact”, or statement that has become accepted as fact, even in the absence of evidence proving it as such. One is that Ronald Reagan “brought down the Soviet Union”. Anyone reading any books written by American diplomats, as well as Russian leaders at the time will realize how utterly imbecilic it is to assume that anyone in one country can “bring down” another country without invading it. Reagan’s military buildup and threats of missile shields only hurt the Soviets because they stupidly tried to match it, to the great demise of their already suffering economy. It was their stupid decisions that collapsed their society, not anything Reagan did from half a world away. Even Mikhail Gorbachev, who was a close friend of Reagan, admitted that it was their own failed ideology that destroyed them, and chuckled when he first heard Americans idolizing Reagan for an internal Soviet failure. But those like Ann Coulter who, to this day, worship at the feet of Reagan, naming everything that isn’t tied down after him, drool at his memory.
That word can be used to define many of the things we hear coming from those in the news media, primarily on the side that is the opposite of the left. Expressions like “support the troops”, which was used quite often during the Iraq disaster, err, war, is a case in point. To suggest that everyone was hoping that the troops would die until they heard that little ditty is just plain stupid.
Another, heard of late, is that this or that or the other group, especially one with which we disagree, is a “terrorist” or “terrorist group”. Terrorists have historically been defined as those who use terror for the advancement of their political gains.They have further been described as warriors without a country, therefore they must act as individuals, rather than an established military.
Terrorism appears to be the most successful when there is a multiplier effect, as with the 9/11 attackers, since their goal was to use the death of 3000 people to scare 300 million. They succeeded, since we’ve changed nearly every aspect of society, including our internal spying mechanisms, since their attack. The death of 3000 people caused us to try to secure 300 million. As terrorism goes, that one was a doozy.
The most successful terrorists use small bands of warriors to defeat large enemies-a David and Goliath scenario, if you will. An airplane highjacker can be defined as a terrorist, since he is using one person to inflict terror onto everyone else on the plane, and possibly everyone who subsequently flies.
Some could argue that the American use of drones to kill civilians is a form of terrorism, but I digress…
Back to our platitudes. Hamas, the organization which the Palestinians in Gaza have duly elected to lead them, has been referred to as terrorist by many. This seems to be a given, a truism, a platitude, since no one has the courage to challenge it. I mean, lets face it. They’re dark skinned, Muslim, and have guns. What more proof do we need?
In 2006, Hamas was elected to a majority of the seats in the Palestinian government, making them no longer this rag-tag band of terrorists, but a legitimate majority party in a democratic election. Just like the Repubs in our Legislature!
Those who proclaim perpetual allegiance to Israel, irrespective of their extreme racism, near-starvation of people in Gaza and concentration-camp like treatment of the Palestinians living there, have been using the platitude “terrorists” to describe Hamas, causing those of us for whom critical thought is a chore to nod their heads in Pavlovian concurrence, grateful for not having to come to a thoughtful conclusion on their own.
Platitudes. The bright, shiny objects of the intellect, or lack thereof.