Word of the Year

By Board Member Bruce Yernberg
 

Every year a well-known dictionary determines the word of the year.  Perhaps the editors and publishers of the dictionary sit around an enormous board room table looking so in tune with society; they can’t help but feel smart.  This year they determined that the word vaccine is the winner.  I believe the word should have been lie.   Behavior surrounding the word lie has changed our society like no other word ever has.

The word lie can be a noun, a verb, an adverb, an adjective and almost any form in language you want it to be.  As a noun it identifies a former president.   As a subject it is in many right-wing political speeches given by members of congress.  The lie is used by many employers in dealing with their employees.  It has always been used in advertising.  Years ago, as a young man, I bought self-tanning lotion that was supposed to give me a “tan”.  As a Scandinavian, it turned me yellow.   In recent television commercials, companies are telling us their labor is free.  Now that’s what I want, somebody doing work for me - working for free.

During this year nobody believes anybody.  Both major parties believe the other party lies.  Local and county government leaders are always looking for words to deceive their constituents.   You can’t get a straight answer from a medical authority.   Lies have infiltrated the clarity of education.  History is being rewritten based on lies.  Lies have created disarray among families and friends.

Recently I had a discussion with an elected leader who told me not to share what I was being told.  I asked, “why not?”  I was told it is not what the people want to hear.  I thought to myself the people must not want the truth.  Are we becoming a society of lies?  Good-by democracy.

Can 2022 be the year of truth?  Or are we too far gone?