What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
- William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet)
The sign on the tollway warned of upcoming Road Rehabilitation! I turned to my husband and asked, “What on earth is road rehabilitation? Is that the same as road repair?”
Did the Illinois Department of Transportation think that labeling summer road construction and repair as “rehabilitation” would make life easier for commuters? Were they trying to soften the blow for those who would constantly be navigating detour after detour? Was it their way of making it more palatable for us? How much money could have been saved by eliminating those eight extra letters and making the signs smaller and calling it what it is – road repair.
Whatever their motivation, it didn’t work. We were not this easily fooled or placated. Because, a road repair by any other name is still an annoying (and sometimes necessary) road repair with the potential of backing up traffic, making people late for work and triggering headaches.
I see a trend in our national communication. Some are intentionally misusing words, relabeling important life issues, in hopes of swaying people’s emotions and beliefs.
The area where this has been most evident to me is in the pro-life/pro-choice debate. What most believe to be a baby is now called a fetus. What was once regarded as selective abortion that brought condemnation on other cultures and was unanimously disdained by our nation is now called a women’s health issues.
The deeply held, centuries old religious beliefs of one group - a group that has cared for the sick and poor around the world – are now labeled hateful and as the instigators of a war on women.
A bill introduced to limit abortions based on the gender of the child provided the opportunity for one congresswoman to liken the potential law to “dragging women’s bodies out of the doctor’s office and into the street.” Talk about mislabeling an issue! Talk about using words to manipulate emotions.
Here’s the deal —most of us don’t buy it. We cannot change the essence of anything by simply changing its name. You can call abortion whatever you want, but it will always be defined the same way by God. He won’t change his mind because we have changed our words.
All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.