If you are vocal about your political views, chances are you have gotten yourself into a debate or two. These debates can be productive and enlightening for both sides of the argument. Upon asking anyone who makes their passion for politics known about their past debates, it is almost guaranteed that they have learned something from these conversations, no matter how minor. As important as these dialogues are in respect to progress and understanding, they can also become pointless once a certain group of linguistic monsters makes an appearance. This group is comprised of the native language of all people who seem to fail miserably at the art of political conversation: buzzwords.
According to Dictionary.com, a buzzword is "a word or phrase, often sounding authoritative or technical, that is a vogue term in a particular profession, the field of study, popular culture, etc.". Nearly everyone encounters buzzwords on a daily basis, whether it be on the news, on social media, or even in conversation with friends and colleagues. You know the words: racist, sexist, homophobic, fascist, xenophobic, etc;. The list seems to grow as social justice becomes more and more of a household name.
This frivolous utilization of buzzwords comes at a severe cost. The more these words are thrown around, the less merit they maintain. Feminists often times like to deem those that disagree with their movement as sexists or misogynists. Same goes for people who point out the faults with Black Lives Matter, they are told time and time again that they are racist. If you favor the travel ban? You're a xenophobic islamophobe.
So, what happens when these words are continually used in this way? They lose their punch. These words are no longer a shocking accusation. These words are no longer a rarity. They've become nothing more than a preamble to any points that a progressive will try to make. Being called a buzzword is currently nothing more than a schoolyard insult because it holds just as much merit as being made fun of during a game of grade-school tag.
The problem with this is that it makes it worlds more difficult to actually distinguish what is truly racist, sexist or anything of the like. When everything that strays from the social justice narrative is deemed as fitting the definition of these buzzwords, the truly problematic content and ideas are muffled by everyday people simply expressing their thoughts.
Not only are these words carelessly spoken, but their meanings are being changed to fit progressive narrative. Racism is no longer a prejudice against someone based on their race, it is considered systemic and something that you can never experience if you are white because you are not "marginalized". Just as fascism is no longer radical authoritarianism, instead it is currently a character trait of those that disagree with liberalism. These alternate meanings are, of course, not the actual definitions of these words. They are simply a rite of passage for liberals to dole out consequences, but never take them on themselves.
As these flippant insults continue to be thrown around by the left, unprompted harassment is distributed in droves as well. For example, members of the Berkeley College Republicans reported being victims of theft of private information and threats against their members after inviting a conservative speaker, Milo Yiannopoulos to speak on campus. Yiannopoulos's lecture was shut down beforehand by riots organized by liberal students.
In more recent news, CNN was accused of blackmailing a Reddit user for posting a gif that was later re-posted by Donald Trump on his Twitter. Seemingly innocent actions by those who denounce liberalism are continually given extreme consequences for no other reason than that their actions somehow offend the left.
The fact that these two instances do not even scrape the surface of the left's attempts to silence differing opinions is most definitely a cause for concern. Unfair accusations and harassment have become a norm for the majority of people who do not agree with every point of the liberal community, especially on social media platforms. This poses a massive issue for anyone who believes in the importance of free speech. When expressing your political opinion, unless it incites violence, you should not have to fear for your job, future education or reputation in doing so. That is not to say that criticism of opinion should not be tolerated as it is one of the most important things in political dialogue, however, there is a tremendous difference between critique and harassment.
There is no shame in differing opinion. That's what makes the world of politics such an interesting and passionate one for so many Americans. Although, there is shame in silencing other's opinions, especially without a proper argument. It is not fascist, racist, sexist or anything of the sort to stand for what you believe is best for your country. In the apex of a war against conflicting ideas, it is imperative to remember that unwarranted attacks will never equate to statistics and buzzwords will never be fact.