The English language ain’t Harry Reid’s strong suit

According to Harry Reid, people who protest at town halls are “evil-mongers.” Bro. Reid, in addition to having problems with understanding the First Amendment, doesn’t understand very well what a “monger” is.

For example, a rumor-monger spread rumors, a gossip-monger spreads gossip.  Does Bro. Reid really want to say that people going to town halls are spreading “evil?”

Prediction:  this type of rhetoric will backfire on Bro. Reid and the Democratic party.  I don’t recall him saying that people who protested against the Iraq war (including hanging Pres. Bush in effigy and constantly calling Pres. Bush a Nazi and comparing him with Hitler and, of course, the not-so-subtle anti-Semitism aimed at “neo-cons”) were “evil-mongers.”  Only people who disagree with Bro. Reid are evil — people who agree with him can be as rude and disruptive as they like.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

26 thoughts on “The English language ain’t Harry Reid’s strong suit

  1. An important point: I have no problem with somebody saying, “some (SOME!) of the people at the town halls have been rude, loud and disruptive, and some of the rhetoric thrown around on the health care debate is not accurate.” I have seen enough Youtubes of the various altercations and interruptions to agree with you, and I would say that such behavior is unproductive, and I would agree with you that it is important to be factual on this debate. I really, really try personally to avoid the scare claims and concentrate on what is actually in the various bills that have been proposed.

    BUT to call somebody who shows up at a town hall to talk to their representative an “evil-monger” is way, way, WAAAY over the top, especially when you have the very recent example of people exercising their First Amendment rights against the Iraq war in unprecedented fashion and not being criticized for it. In addition, I would like to point out anybody defending Bro. Reid’s use of the word “evil” may want to consider also defending another prominent use of the word “evil,” as in “axis of evil” to describe Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Do you really think the grandparents who show up at a town hall to protest the health care plan are equally as evil as Kim Jong Il?

  2. Does Bro. Reid really want to say that people going to town halls are spreading “evil?”


    The pretenses are down. The gloves are off. They are showing their true colors. The inmates are running the asylum.

    Let’s get some grown-ups back in charge of congress in 2010. Here’s hoping 2010 is another 1994.

  3. Its is all a question of semantics. What does evil mean on this context compared to the other aforentioned context.

    I agree that the gloves are off. But aren’t they always?

    I also agree that the dems are way over the top. I am glad people are showing up to meetings and telling the governnmet what they think. I hope the dems realize that this is a right we will fight for(not the republicans, but Americans), and I hope this all blows up in their face.

    But still, we have to be civil, even to the government, and we should expect the same form them.

  4. other brother: check out to see how Pelosi and the media handled left-wing protestors who did much worse.

    Left-wing protestors: treated with approval, or not commented on by media when they do/say outrageous things (like suggesting Bush should be killed).

    Right-wing protestors: treated a evil and unpatriotic.

    The media and the democrats are hypocrites of the first order. Absolute lying manipulating hypocrites. I’ll even say they, the democrats and their supporters in the media, are evil for what they have done, and for what they are attempting to foist on America, and for _how_ they are attempting to foist it on us.

  5. Actually, when I read what Bro. Reid said about the issue, the first thing that came to mind was “fish mongers.”

    Book, I can agree with you about the hypocrisy. I tend not to see the actions of others as “evil” when it comes to politics. The vast majority of people, even politicians, are trying to do what they believe is right, given the many different pressures they have to raise money, fit in with party big-wigs, make deals and compromises, etc. Sometimes it appears evil to us on the outside, but my personal opinion is that very few of them are actually evil. You can say the results of their policies are evil (abortion, for example), but very few politicians are truly evil themselves. I am the biggest critic of the media you will ever find (having been a journalist myself for some time), but, again, even the worst hack journalist (Dan Rather comes to mind) is not “evil.” They truly believe in what they are doing — some of them are simply so blinded by their own ideology that they can’t see how hypocritical they are. Blind, hypocritical, stupid — but not evil, in my opinion.

    This is one of the biggest problems I have with Bro. Reid’s use of the word “evil.” Evil is Satan and his followers — people who truly relish opposing everything that is good. I don’t think that describes that many people on either side of this debate, personally. I think most people are acting in good faith, even though I may disagree with their take on the issues.

  6. Again, evil is a touchy word. I din’t think politicians are evil like Satan; But more evil than your stereotypical mother-in-law.

    I would like to say they are almost like Hitler, but that conjures up a a lot of bad imagery. But I think Hitler started believing his own rhetoric, went nuts and got waay off track. I think that would accurately describe some politicians.

    And while I am at it, Mr Kneivel is not even in the running.

  7. It is easy to see someone killing crowds of kids on a school bus as evil. Unless you consider that person a hero in your religion or political realm.
    Sometimes, there is more evil in the politician who believes himself to be good. Gadianton’s robbers made oaths in the name of God. Giddianhi, the Gadianton governor, proclaimed that their secret works were “good.”

    Few go out of their way to proclaim they are evil and are seeking to only do evil. Most attempt to promote their views as good. Korihor and Nehor tried to proclaim freedom as the ultimate virtue, even if it meant destroying other virtues along the way. In reality, Satan can twist anything good into something that ends up evil.

    “Health care” sounds like a good thing to do. But its implementation can potentially end up causing greater harm than good: if it bankrupts the nation, reduces freedom of choice, or prevents/postpones a person from having surgery when they need it.

    Harry Reid used to be a moderate Democrat with some decent ideas. But he seems to have sold his soul to Nancy Pelosi (Satan, perhaps?) and the liberals when he took the job as Senate Majority Leader.

  8. Evil-monger is a great term. Also, what’s an iron-monger? I’m not quite sure.

  9. I don’t see how this is a failure of English. I think Reid is trying to say that they are spreading (or “selling”) evil. Look, from Reid’s perspective the people are yelling falsehoods, distorting their opponents’ views (i.e., lying), etc. Unless you think that lying, etc. is not evil, then you have to agree that from Reid’s perspective this is evil-mongering.

    I totally disagree with his complaint, of course. This isn’t the first time shouting and upstaging has been used a political protest.

    Also, I think it’s very wonderful of Reid to join in labeling political opponents as “evil.”

  10. I’m trying to be charitable to Bro. Reid by attributing his mistatement as simply a mistake of his English, rather than go down the road toward thinking that he really thinks people who dare to disagree with him are “evil.” 🙂

  11. Those that are actively involved in supporting various terrorist enterprises (terrorist as in targeting random civilians) or who themselves starve, murder, or oppress their own countrymen are somewhat more than “political opponents”.

  12. An iron monger is someone who peddles iron, just as a fish monger is someone who peddles fish.

  13. I think he has used a poor choice of words. This is the kind of crap that keeps the parties divided. If one side would grow up and stop the mud-slinging, then perhaps the other side will follow suit. I personally like Reid, but, come on, he needs to grow up a little.

  14. Give Sen. Reid a break. He probably just read the 76th section of the Doctrine and Covenants (didn’t you all read it for Sunday school?) and he had whoremongers on his mind.

    I don’t think the “monger” in whoremonger means someone who traffics in whores–a pimp or a procurer, for example–but one who patronizes them. Even at that, “evil-monger” doesn’t make much sense.

  15. On the other hand, if those loud intolerant voices at town hall meetings are there because of an orchestrated effort to derail public debate and kill health care reform without an honest discussion of the merits of the proposed legislation, that might be considered something close to evil. Those, for example, who have distorted the end of life counseling part of the bill — which Senator Grassley voted for in 2003 and is something all good estate planners recommend — are either stupid or evil. A lot of intemperate language is being used here. I wish Senator Reid had not joined in, but I understand his exasperation. What’s really sad is that the loud voices are so poisoning the well that we may not see any meaningful health care reform now for a generation. It won’t matter to me, but my young libertarian friends better hope they earn lots and lots of money because when it comes to health care in the years ahead, they are going to need it.

  16. Sam, two points: the vast majority of discussion at town halls has been reasoned and relatively polite, if you actually watch the entire videos and not the one or two inflammatory scenes. Harry Reid shows no consideration for the average, everyday Americans who are showing up at these meetings to participate in the democratic process. Second, Harry Reid had absolutely no problem with the truly loud and intolerant voices who have protested against Pres. Bush over the years. Are they evil-mongers too?

  17. I personally find the whole thing amusing. Republicans were railing against protesters during the Bush administration. I constantly heard them say things like “You know why Republicans don’t protest, it’s because they have jobs.” I heard them say multiple times that protesters were un-american and other insults. Now, all the sudden, it’s the Republicans turn to do the protesting. I guess it’s the Dems turn to rail against protesters ect.

    The road goes ever on and on…

  18. Ian, you may have a point. But I don’t recall the Republican leaders of the House and Senate calling Dems “un-American” and “evil-mongers” for protesting, even though they may have disagreed with their point of view. I could be wrong and forgetting something, but I don’t remember such actions.

  19. Geoff: If people on the right are smart enough to know that the left/socialist policies will eventually result in evil, then there are people on the left, maybe behind the scenes pulling the politician-puppets’ strings, who are also smart enough to figure out the future results.

    If we’re going to be generous and assume politicians are too stupid to figure out that what they are trying to implement is socialism, and who don’t realize that socialism leads to evil tyranny, then we would have to assume that the people behind the politicians, who “own” or control them, are evil.

    Very few politicians are their own man. There are huge machineries that groom those people from their college years to prepare them. The groomers may not have specific offices in mind for each groomee, but it creates a pool. Clinton and Obama were groomed going back to their early college years, maybe high school. Read the histories on Obama and see who his mentors, trainers, and public groomers were, radical leftists.

    Left-v-right, but especially Dem-v-Repub is a dog-and-pony show. It’s a Hegelian “conflict of opposites.” It’s something to keep us focused on in the short term so that we don’t see the long term trends. This conflict of opposites keeps us satisfied when we have short term gains, or even when we merely -delay- the advancement of socialism. But in the long run, a delay is really no good.

    The way I see it, is the Republicans give the democrats EXACTLY what they want, but just do it 20 to 25 years later. So it’s a false dichotomy. Supporting republicans without attacking the “root cause” of socialism/statism is only delaying the tyranny to come.

    The powers behind the scenes don’t mind thinking ahead 25 years, because societal change comes slowly anyway. The purpose of the republicans in all this merely seems to keep the right/conservatives occupied and focused on the short term game.

    Look how Republicans have failed to make sure conservatism is kept alive in
    the universities. University administrations have seemed hell-bent on producing liberal/socialst/statist graduates for 30 years now. The only countering force seems to be the familial influence.

    Look how Republicans have failed to make sure conservatism has a voice in the media. Look how Fox has been the only exception. And look what Walter Kronkite did to the people of Vietnam. I don’t think Walter was evil, but what he did had an evil result.

    Another thing being used is incrementalism. Look at the incrementalism of socialism from the 1930’s New Deal, to the 1960’s Great Society, to the 1970’s and 1980’s expansion (SSI, SSDI, etc) of Great Society programs. It’s now been 20 years since the last major expansion of socialism, so socialized health care has been put on the table. According to the pattern of the past, we’re overdue for an expansion of socialism.

    Look where we’ve come after letting liberals run universities and secondary schools for 30 years. We’ve created an electorate indoctrinated with liberal/socialist thinking. And look at which side demagogues towards those who have no college education.

  20. Book: Good post.

    Sam: “It won’t matter to me, but my young libertarian friends better hope they earn lots and lots of money because when it comes to health care in the years ahead, they are going to need it.” It doesn’t matter, as a tax payer I’m going to pay for it one way or another. Either through taxes or out of my pocket to a private insurance company.

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