Bob Franken


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For those of us who thought that “acronym” was a city in Ohio, it is not. It’s an abbreviation formed from initials used to describe something that’s then pronounced as a word. SCUBA, for example, stands for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Did you know that? Most divers are simply happy to make SCUBA do when it comes to clearly labeling their underwater pursuits.
Unfortunately, many acronyms are really tortured and designed to mislead. Wait — “tortured and designed to mislead” defines the American political system, so it’s no surprise that many of these clever abbreviations are political and therefore deceptive, contrived to disguise some ugly intention in pretty platitudes.
So it is with the RAISE act, brought to you by the ultraconservative sponsors of legislation that would cut in half legal immigration to this country and replace family considerations with meritocracy standards, among them already speaking English. Critics would say that it effectively shuts out millions of people whom the white right would consider undesirable, and that it flies right in the face of this country’s historic welcome to “huddled masses yearning to be free.” Backers of the proposal, including the president (of course), argue that it’s a way to preserve jobs for U.S. citizens. Although hundreds of studies have disputed that, it plays to the fears of unemployment and many prejudices of the frightened millions of Trump supporters who would be afraid of their own shadows if their own shadows came from another country.
So the proponents of the cutbacks call it the RAISE Act. That’s Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy. Get it? It’s a crock, but there it is. What’s regrettable is that there are other acronyms to use. How about the Bill Intending to Gut Our Tradition, or BIGOT. Isn’t that a more accurate acronym?

Sometimes, those who create their misleading labels don’t even bother with acronyms. They come up with twisted nomenclature, like their Religious Freedom Acts, which aren’t about religious freedom at all, unless they mean the freedom of those who use faith as an excuse to make life miserable for anyone who doesn’t hew to their strict moral views — to discriminate against gays, for instance. It’s a cynical attempt to twist the beautiful concept of religious freedom into oppression. It’s become an ongoing preoccupation of the Supreme Court or, getting back to acronyms, SCOTUS.
At the White House, POTUS is a constant Fount Of Obnoxious Lies (FOOL). You don’t need 140 characters to label him. TWEET will do, as in Trump’s Widely Enraging Empty Thinking. But what does he say about us? Our system, which we present as a beacon of democracy, could only manage to present us with a dismal choice in our election. We had to select from bad and worse. We chose worse, or at least millions of our citizens did, and now our worst fears are being realized. Donald Trump — President Donald Trump — is sending this nation hurtling to disaster. Setting aside his impotence in dealing with foreign sinister characters like North Korea’s leaders, who threaten annihilation, we have domestic threats. There’s the upcoming very good possibility that this nation will default on its sovereign debt if our dysfunctional Congress and slapstick administration can’t get together on raising the debt ceiling. That’s always a political football, but in this nasty environment it’s become a potential bomb, threatening to explode in less than two months.
Of course, we are unwilling to focus on anything that’s beyond two minutes away. That’s about the time between various outrages., like buffoons like Tony Scaramucci who briefly pollute the atmosphere before dissipating. Us media enablers delight in both the chaos and the threats that the chaos will get even uglier if investigators find there was election collusion with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. We are close to our nation being regarded by the world as a Second-Class Reduced Entity or Worse for Enduring this Debacle. I’ll leave it to you to figure out that acronym.

© 2017 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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