27The Meaning of Words


 

 

One if the effects of the many invasions and conquests of Britain has been the enrichment of its language by the conquerors until today that universality is recognized throughout the world. It is helped – along with the power of the British Empire and then its successor, the U.S., in international affairs – make it the world’s common language.

From the earliest British Beaker folk [named after their vessels buried with them], one new linguistic tide after another swept over the British Islands bringing with it first the Celtic language, then the Germanic Saxon, the Danish, and the French Norman. It is perhaps this heritage that gives English we speak today such a wide range of possibilities of expression, and, sometimes, to confusion because of it.

In this context what is to be made of the current commotion over President Donald K. Trump’s attempt at consolation for a grieving widow of Green Beret Sgt. La David Johnson? Johnson’s body was recovered in a remote area of the northwestern African country by Nigerian troops nearly 48 hours after he was discovered missing in the wake of an attackearlier this month against his Green Beret training and assistance unit. The U.S. has maintained about 800 US troops in Niger among its other posting in Africa. The US military has been in the northwest African country for five years, with small groups, US Special Operations Forces advising local troops. Their targets have been jihadists, including “ISIS in the Greater Sahara” and the ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram operating in Niger and neighboring Mali..

Lara Trump, the President’s daughter has confirmed, referring to a transcript of the call with Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David, her father’s thought. She paraphrases hin as having told Johnson’s widow “your husband went into battle, you know, knowing that he could be injured, knowing that he could be killed.”  Although the words might sound stark out of context, it is clear that the President was trying to help console the grieving survivor by reminding her of her husband’s dedication and devotion to military service and his undoubted recognition of its risks including his death.

Rep. Frederica Wilson [D., FL], has decided to twist these remarks and their meaning into an attack on the President as unfeeling and inadmissible. Wilson’s campaign has blossomed as Trump has responded to her accusation and further carried the argument to earlier Wilson claims as an effective Congresswoman in representing the financial concerns of her district.

White House chief of staff John Kelly criticized Wilson for allegedly taking credit for securing funding for an FBI field office two years ago. Kelly had denounced Wilson after the Democratic congresswoman publicly criticized President Donald Trump’s comments during a phone call with the widow of a fallen soldier.

“I was not even in Congress in 2009 when the money for the building was secured,” the Florida Democrat responded.”So that’s a lie. How dare he! However, I named the building at the behest of [then-FBI Director James Comey] with the help of [then-House Speaker John Boehner], working across party lines. So he didn’t tell the truth.”

Kelly was referring to an FBI field office in Miramar, Florida, that was dedicated in 2015 to two FBI agents who were killed during a gunfight with drug traffickers. The chief of staff said he had been “stunned” by Wilson’s public comments at the ceremony dedicating the building.

The whole bickering exchange is demeaning to both parties. Wilson’s language leaves much to be desired from a pubic figure. But we think that the President’s chief of staff, a four-star retired U. S Marine general himself, ought to have better sense than to get down into the mud and roll around with Wilson

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