Well we have come to a pretty pass.
Now people are being forced to apologize for the use of a legitimate word -- even when correctly used in context -- simply because the word (and variations on it) are sometimes used by other people in another context in an unkind manner about entirely different people.
Confused yet? Let me explain.
Rahm Emanuel wishes to convey his displeasure at the stupidity (as he sees it) of a certain course of action by progressives.
He uses an adjective that has its roots in French and previously Latin from several hundred years ago that describes such political thinking as retrograde, as regressive, as being of limited capacity in comprehension of political realities. An adjective in the English language that very accurately describes that condition is "retarded".
It happens that -- quite unfairly -- people who are mentally or physically challenged have had the NOUN version of that quite legitimate word used as a word to describe them by some people. (But not Rahm Emanuel).
And -- quite rightly -- it has been agreed by society that that noun, and the verb and adjectival versions of it should not be used to describe people who are mentally or physically challenged.
But when was it determined that this quite legitimate word itself could not be used in ANY context -- even when being used to describe the political thinking of people who are NOT mentally or physically challenged. Simply retarded in their political thinking?
If Rahm Emmanuel had said this:
Sarah Palin's shameless use of the cognitive and developmental disability of her Down's Syndrome child Trig Paxson Van Palin to express faux indignation as a device to score political points using her retarded child is foul and reprehensible
I would have found it to be a deeply unacceptable use of the word "retarded" that would absolutely require an apology.
BUT HE DIDN'T.
He used a legitimate word to describe (as he saw it) the political position of people who do NOT have "cognitive and developmental disability"
Let's just burn the dictionaries now.
As the late George Carlin told us:
"Words are all we have really. We have thoughts but thoughts are fluid. Then we assign a word to a thought and we're stuck with that word for that thought. There are some people that are not into all the words. There are some that would have you not use certain words. Bad Words. That's what they told us they were, remember? "That's a bad word!" NO bad words. Bad thoughts... bad intentions..."
HuffPost Politics brings you the top political stories three days a week. Learn more