Good Words Ruined – Part One

What has ten letters and means both ‘sacred’ and ‘profane’?
Musings by L.E. Taylor

The road was icy and my attention to the radio was fragmented. The commentator was going on about the IRS Scandal (targeting political enemies with audits), the Benghazi Scandal (who-knew-what, and why did four Americans get murdered?), the NSA Scandal (spying on Americans), the Fast-and-Furious Scandal (guns smuggled to drug cartels), the ACA Scandal (lost health insurance coverage for Americans), and New Jersey’s “Bridge-Gate”.

The dangers of winter driving in Dallas notwithstanding, I became aware that a common qualifier ran through every report, a term that popped out like Whack-a-Mole, locating and defining the context of each outrage: Washington.

Within memory of some Americans the utterance, “Washington” once carried a positive, almost sacred, lustre. It was a proper noun derived from one of the most admired mortals to tread the earth. It bespoke virtue, strength, honor, selfless heroism, wisdom, grace under fire, and divine purpose. The man who bore the name is known to history as The Father of His Country. When the King of England got word that the Commander in Chief of the victorious infant nation had rejected his countrymen’s offer to make him king, George III said, “If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.”

In the first years of the new Republic people agreed: “Washington – First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” So, when the marshy tidewater across the Potomac from Mount Vernon was chosen as the site for the new capitol, it followed that it should be called “City of Washington”, to honor the greatest American.

I was mulling all this as I coasted to a safe stop in my sleeted over driveway. Is the world’s good always doomed to be corrupted by man’s venial nature? Answer: What grows uncared for – flowers or weeds?

Since we cannot change the nature of men, for the sake of decency we might consider re-naming that tidewater swamp in the northwest quadrant of the District of Columbia. There is a place just upstream where the Potomac gets narrow and is so shallow that no commerce can navigate.

Seems apt. We could just go back to 1763 and retrieve its original name: Foggy Bottom.











  1. Johnson, Paul; George Washington, the Founding Father; HarperCollins, Publishers, NYC, NY; 2005.
  2. William Bennett; Our Sacred Honor; Simon & Schuster; NYC, NY; 1997.
  3. L.E. Taylor; LETsBlog:; Water the Flowers, Not the Weeds; August 20, 2013.


3 comments to Good Words Ruined – Part One

  1. Jim Shacklett says:

    In Washington, there is another part of the anatomy that is higher up and even more densely fogged then the “Bottom”. A thick fog encircles the heads and prevents the eyes from seeing what is happening right in front of them, distorts the hearing, and it completely clouds the view of the hard learned lessons of the past. The founding fathers devised a government with very specific separation of powers, for a reason. They had suffered through and learned from, the harshness and unfairness of the all-powerful government of King George. They vowed no more, not here.

    Everyday we see this administration erode those specific separations of powers. The Executive Branch is now as much a Legislative Branch and Judicial Branch as it is an Administrative one. It creates laws by fiat and it chooses to interpret laws and to enforce only the portions of laws the Executive Branch wants enforced. Congress and the Supreme Court seem to ignore their oversight responsibilities and are content to become less and less meaningful as the Executive Branch rolls down the road to assuming all powers via half-truths, untruths, corruption and deceit.

    Like our founding fathers, this administration has learned from and been shaped by the environment in which they lived. However, unlike the founding fathers, they did not suffer from, but were part of, a corrupt environment. Since before the roaring twenties era of Al Capone, Chicago has been known for high levels of public corruption and a fairly recent report reveals the data to prove it. So wrote the Chicago Tribune in a February 15, 2012 article concerning a report compiled by the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs. “The Chicago area logged the most public corruption convictions of any federal jurisdiction in the United States during the past 36 years…” reported the Chicago Tribune. Convictions just since the 1970’s included 11 state legislators, numerous judges, dozens of aldermen and more. Who knows how many escaped conviction, but the federal prosecutors obtained “1,531 public corruption convictions in the Northern District of Illinois since 1976…”stated Dick Simpson, head of the university’s political science department according to the Chicago Tribune article.

    Is it any wonder that an administration overflowing with “Chicago politicos” raised in that environment, find no problem with “changing America” to what feels comfortable and historically normal to them. They will not be swayed or convinced of their error for this is the warped view of right with which they were raised.

    Our only hope is that enough of those in Congress, Republican and Democrat alike, who were raised to recognize right from wrong, truth from deceit, honor from dishonor, courage from cowardice, and country above political party will finally step forth, accept their sworn responsibilities and start taking the actions required to steer the good ship America out of this polluted fog.

  2. Judith Berry says:

    Three days ago I was without electricity and heat due to the ice storm that hit the south, and here in South Carolina we looked like a war zone. I have a wood stove insert so I closed off most of the house. I only had enough wood for 12 hours. The rest of the time I used those lousy fake logs which does not put out much heat. It was too cold in the part of the house that wasn’t heated, so I slept in a chair with ottoman, under a down fleece comforter in front of the wood stove. No TV, no computer, no way to heat food. I survived and did a lot of reading by kerosene lamp, and also thought that I really didn’t miss the computer or the terrible TV news. I did have thoughts of generations past and how they lived their lives without all the amenities we have today. (Not that the rest of the world lives in wealth). So your comments about Washington got me to thinking, how we all change in our thinking.
    I get so tired of the comments and disrespect for the presidency. It wasn’t always like this – I get tired of the friction between the “parties.” I think the old saying about what you don’t know don’t hurt you is so true, but on the other hand, I like to be informed. Maybe there is a middle of the road. I don’t know – at least I haven’t found it yet. When one lives alone, there is too much alone time, so the TV and computer help to pass the time. I’m involved in several groups, but the politics of these groups is tiring and I’m always glad to get home after meetings.

    So after all my comments, and thinking about George and Abe and a few more recent presidents, I think, even though most comments are our own opinions, I think some are better left unsaid. Many of them today, seem on the negative side and I don’t know what good they really do. I know that even if God, Himself, were president, there would be many folk that wouldn’t be satisfied, in fact, in talking to several people today about this terrible ice storm, many of them thought that it was He trying to tell us something. Believe what you will!

  3. Hola! I’ve been reading your web site for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Texas!
    Just wanted to say keep up the great job!

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