What's In A Name? - 27 East

Letters

Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1674887

What’s In A Name?

My friend John Neely takes issue in his recent letter with the use of the term “Democrat Party” to refer to what is correctly called the “Democratic Party” [“Not That Party,” Letters, January 23]. John is, of course, right, and I am almost hesitant to address such a small feature in his letter, which so eloquently and forthrightly answers serious false charges made against the party.

Nevertheless, I feel it may be useful to John and others for me to describe my own history with this “Democrat Party” misnomer.

It used to annoy me — oh, yes, quite intensely: hackles rising, fists clenching, all of it — but that was before I realized that my irritation is precisely the goal of those who mangle my party’s name. They do it because they know it gets under my skin. So, the cure is simply to mellow out and not let it irritate me, or at least not to show it. Problem solved.

“Democrat Party” has a certain backwoods ring, its users conjuring images of Senator Phogbound with a string tie, or moonshiners around the still — “Yessir, Buddy, that there Democrat Party, they’s the troublemakers, no-good hounds.”

It all goes back to the sad transformation of the Republic (sorry, “Republican”) Party, from a civil body that respected basic norms, into the curious organism it is now, beginning with Nixon’s Southern Strategy, continuing with whatever it was Reagan did (I never could grasp that), and culminating in the Trumpian boil-and-bubble. Before Nixon, you never heard a Republic (sorry, “Republican”) talking about the “Democrat Party.”

Now, however, it’s all the rage. Not only do we have the “Democrat Party,” but once the adjective has been loosed, there’s no restraining it: “Democrat Leftists,” “Democrat Godlessness,” “Democrat tree-huggers” and so on.

Not only is it all the rage, it actually seems to be mandatory for Republics (oops, “Republicans”). Much as I’ve tried to let go of it all, I must confess that I monitor this point closely; whenever one of our friends across the aisle refers to us, individually or as a group, I note which term they use, and they never use the correct one anymore. There are probably severe penalties for saying “Democratic,” and so they toe the line, as they do in everything — “Democrat” it is.

So, John, it’s not just a matter of denying our opponents the satisfaction of knowing they’ve gotten to us, it’s also a matter of recognizing their unfortunate situation. It’s the Age of Trump, and rules are rules.

George Lynch

Quiogue

Mr. Lynch is the treasurer of the Southampton Town Democratic Committee — Ed.

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