We all remember the childhood game “Hide & Seek.” But it is increasingly unlikely that our grandchildren will know it by that name. Between the politicians and the press, our language is steadily becoming more sanitized. Whether you call it political correctness or spin, the American lexicon is slowly being transformed into terms that are decidedly more positive and polite.
For example, I recently saw a television commercial for a drug that treats Crohn’s Disease. When listing its numerous potential side effects, the voiceover mentioned several “fatal events.” Apparently you won’t “die” from this drug. It’s not potentially “lethal.” But you might experience a “fatal event.”
And people no longer “hide.” Well, terrorists still “hide.” Our enemies “hide.” But Americans don’t “hide.” Instead, we “shelter in place.”
No one in the Washington Navy Yard hid from that crazed gunman. No one at the Garden State Mall hid either. And students at Yale were weren’t told to hide from that alleged gunman. They all sheltered in place.
Hiding, it seems, has connotations of cowardice. So we, as fearless Americans, now shelter in place.
You can dress things up to look pretty. Even put a bow on it. But everyone knows that a strategic withdrawal is nothing more than a retreat. And sheltering in place is nothing more than hiding.