Jeanette Sekan
Jeanette Sekan
By Jeanette Sekan
The Cody (Wyo.) Enterprise

I’ve been thinking about words again.

What people say, and whether words and actions match, has always been something to which I pay attention. Today, it seems easier to say anything – true or not, reasonable or not, kind or not.

As with so many things, we seem quite willing to alter meanings, ignore facts and just plain turn everything upside-down.

Compromise. Here’s a word that was once a goal for most. As children, we were taught to share toys, and we couldn’t always get our way no matter how loudly we screamed or held our breath.

We were taught that the classroom and playground were for everyone and not there for our sole enjoyment or benefit. We had to compromise with our classmates, siblings and friends. If we didn’t, we soon found ourselves on the outside looking in.

Compromise became more important as we traversed college and jobs. Teamwork was critical in sports and in careers. No one could do everything alone. We needed to offer support and be supported.

Today, that valuable word and action is now considered right up there with the plague – something to be avoided at all costs. If you compromise, you sell out. If you compromise, you are wrong.

It’s a shame we’ve allowed a few to completely hijack the word, but also the import of that word to our everyday lives.

Political correctness. Now here’s a phrase that has been taken to a degree of silliness with few rivals. When I hear someone say that “x” is just an action that is politically correct, it usually means they want permission to be crude and rude.

The term “politically correct” is now a euphemism used by some to ridicule what, in the not-so-distant past, was common courtesy and manners. Calling people names, invoking epithets, demeaning others in public, exhibiting a penchant for meanness have been the anti-political correctness mantras.

To me, it’s witnessing those who were never taught the Golden Rule, and are making feeble attempts to excuse their inexcusable behavior. It’s a shame we’ve allowed common courtesy to be diminished by a phrase some use for their own selfish ends.

Morality. Here’s where I’m really scratching my head. This one seems to be on the chopping block today. I know we all have our morality standards. Some may have more flexible standards than others. But for the most part, the morality standards in America had fairly identifiable boundaries.

Not so anymore.

A state in our union came close to deciding that an alleged child molester is more palatable to the electorate than a member of another political party. In a real “Twilight Zone” moment, I heard a supposed pastor almost deify the child molester, and the descriptive terms he used for the molestee cannot be printed in this newspaper.

I didn’t realize our definition of morality had truly fallen so far. It’s a shame we’ve allowed our political affiliation to justify and excuse even the vilest of behaviors.

We should think about words a little more – what they really mean, as well as how we’ve allowed words that matter to be corrupted.

Words should still matter.

Jeanette Sekan is a columnist for the Cody Enterprise in Cody, Wyo. and a former resident of Ohio. The award-winning newspaper is owned by Sage Publishing Co. of Cody, Wyo. Jeanette’s columns are published in The Highland County Press, courtesy of the author and the Cody Enterprise (