The Last Word on 2012

As 2012 ends and 2013 dawns, there are a few phrases that need to die with the old year.

Some of them are current, but many are relics that keep getting dragged out in conversation and they need to retire to the old words’ home.

Top of the list is the fiscal cliff. It’s not a catchy phrase or particularly insightful. How it got to the status it did escapes me. It was a mistake for Republicans to let this phrase run amok. It should really be called the Obama cliff because he’s the one who put us here and is pushing us over it.

But, alas, fiscal cliff looks like it will spawn other cliffs, much like Watergate gave us the -gate that gets applied to any event that happens anymore. What does it say about American creativity that this is all we can come up with? It says it’s dead, is what it says.

“Teachable moment” has really gotten the spotlight ever since Obama got in office. Everything that happens now is a teachable moment whether it’s Gabby Giffords’ shooting, race tensions or fiscal cliffs. The only thing that doesn’t seem to be a teachable moment is what occurs between the four walls of the classroom. And the only ones who seem to need a teachable moment are conservatives. Liberals never frame an experience as something they can learn from.

“Eat Local” has started to appear on bumper stickers like its cousin “COEXIST.” Advocates say it will keep us in touch with our community, with the natural season, educate us on old varieties of foods and make us feel better about the environment. Less energy is expended in shipping perishables, adherents claim. But is it?ot necessarily. A train can hold a lot of cargo that would take small farmers many trips to market. And some countries can’t grow much food locally and they need to import food. Certainly no one could argue against that.

Here in Memphis at our farmers markets, eating locally is – paradoxically – much more expensive than food at a national chain grocery store. Should families give up produce that isn’t local because of high prices? Surely even Michelle Obama would tell you to eat your veggies.

With all this emphasis on local, how about governing local? Liberals are not too keen on that are they? States have less and less say about the health of its residents, the roads they travel or the guns they use. The feds aren’t too keen on governing local. Look what happened in Memphis when suburbs wanted to teach local. The courts give that a big no.

That brings us to another word I’d like to see go away. It’s “sustainability.” The concept that what’s being ravaged from nature must be replaced is not necessarily a bad one, it’s just silly. In the capitalist system this occurs without government intervention because suppliers do not want to see their product disappear. If it does, so does their livelihood. Trees, for instance, which paper companies cut down continually, are replaced at numbers greater than their disposal. The government and liberals like to tout sustainability and their rulings on it, but they ignore sustainability when it comes to economics. Obama wants to yank capital out of the population, but he doesn’t care about replacing it. How about a little sustainability in policy, Mr. O?

At the end of the day, he won’t. Which brings me to that wretched expression. At the end of the day has been tossed around for years and what does it really mean? At the end of the day, we’ll settle a problem? We don’t seem to. At the end of the day we’ll forget about it? That, unfortunately, we do. The next day dawns irregardless of what happened at the end of the previous one.

It needs to be shelved along with “It takes a village” (it really doesn’t) and “The Common Era” used to take BC and AD and God out of human events.

At the end of the day these expressions probably will go to the graveyard of forgotten hack phrases. They simply aren’t sustainable. In the meantime we’ll have to talk local and hope their teachable moments fail.

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