Thursday, November 10, 2016

Antidisestablishmentarianism

I woke up this morning with that word on my mind.

Do you remember when "antidisestablishmentarianism" was the longest word in the English language? I say 'remember when' because in reality there are words that are much longer - but if you don't count technical words (the chemical name of tin has almost 190 000 letters) or coined words, it still is the longest word. I remember teaching myself that word because it felt so good rolling off my tongue.

But it also taught me about English, about  how it is perfectly legitimate to add prefixes or suffixes to words to make a new word or meaning. So I laugh when people tell me things aren't really words - like ongoingly, 'cause - sure it is. Just because it gets a squiggly red line under it, doesn't mean it's not a real word - you can make out its meaning. That's English for you.

Historically, antidisestablishmentarianism (go ahead, say it out loud) referred to a political position that opposed proposals to remove the Anglican church as the established church throughout most of England. Just for shits and giggles, lets dissect this word instead of looking at it historically.

Let's look at this word from the base "establishment".

establishment - a public institution
dis establishment -  having a negative, or reversing force - against the establishment
anti disestablishment - opposition to disestablishment (ugh, double negatives)
antidisestablishment ary - pertaining to opposition to disestablishment
antidisestablishmentar ian - someone who is opposed to disestablishment
antidisestablishmentarian ism - the movement  associated with being opposed to disestablishment

I guess the elections of 2016 will go down in history as a sort of antiestablishmentarianism. I have this election on my mind. In fact I'm writing this - right now - just so I don't brood. Hell, let's brood a little bit - haven't you thought about the end of the world as we know it? Not the song. But the event - it's all the rave in young adult fiction (which is awesome, btw). You've probably enjoyed the story line at the theaters - The Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Divergent. I'm currently reading the Emberverse series by S.M. Sterling about an event referred to only as "the Change". I love this shit. I've had thoughts all my life about making the world a better place... which typically (and weirdly) concludes with thoughts like - well lets erase this one first.

There are so many things not to like about how our government - the establishment - works. And I've often thought, "Gah, we need to do something, but it's so big - so established..." and then the train of thought usually ends with something like "shit! that was my stop, now I'm gonna be late for work...".

Watch the pilot episode of Designated Survivor. I'm not recommending that plan - but hell, I'm clearly not the only one who's thought it.

I've never been more proud to be American than when we elected Obama as president. It felt like such a huge thing, like we were making great strides, then the supreme court ruling on marriage equality, it almost made the ineffectuality of our republican congress palatable because we were growing as a nation - species even. I am quite aware now that my views on the last 8 years aren't shared by all. I'm trying to wrap my head around what happened and I'm usually pretty good at seeing the others point of view, but really? You were that threatened by a black family in our sacred white house!?

I know that my point of view is likely skewed - I was one of those who took him literally and didn't take him seriously, while his supporters took him seriously and not literally. I don't believe that politicians will do what they say (even the best ones), so why was I so sure he'd honor his words that I found so nauseating?

And I know he's not the first rapist to live at the white house, and legally he just played the system so he didn't have to pay taxes, and all his justifications about how you do business are a valid (if deplorable) strategy. And I really think/fear/hope that the establishment is going to be so ravaged by his attempt...

no... what I really fear is... The establishment is going to get rid of him and running rampant will destroy so much of what we have accomplished, and this ground swelling of change (even tho it's not how I would have brought it about) will come to an abrupt halt, shattered before it had time to transform into something new (and potentially beautiful).

Yes. I want him to succeed. I want him to prove me wrong. I want the role he has accepted to transform him, to have him value the spirit as well as the word of the bill of rights. To have this movement to up-end the establishment be an unprecedented peaceful resolution to what isn't working with our great country.

1 comment:

Jeffer Shen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.