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February 20, 2024

Willis vs. Wade vs. Euphemisms

So many descriptions of human behavior have been modified or changed to gloss over their real meaning.

During questioning of Fulton County, Georgia prosecutor Nathan Wade about his “relationship” with District Attorney Fani Willis there was a moment that cut through all the euphemisms we have become accustomed to when it comes to human behavior.

Scott Sadow, an attorney for Donald Trump, who is trying to get an indictment against Trump dismissed for Trump’s alleged interference in the 2020 presidential election, received an answer to a question that appeared to surprise him. Asked about his “relationship” with Willis, Wade said “do you mean intercourse?” Sadow said he wasn’t going to use that word, but since Wade brought it up, then yes, that’s what he meant.

It was a classic example of how euphemisms are increasingly used to soften the meaning of questionable behavior.

A forceful Willis tried to obfuscate her relationship with Wade, even calling him at one point a “Southern gentleman.” But in an earlier court filing, she admitted to an affair (meaning sex) with Wade, who she put on the payroll as part of her Trump prosecution team.

Radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger receives calls from women who speak of living with their boyfriends.

“In other words,” she said, “you’re shacking up.”

One woman replied, “I wouldn’t put it that way.”

Schlessinger then asked, “How would you put it?”

The woman had no answer.

That was once called telling the truth.

So many descriptions of human behavior have been modified or changed to gloss over their real meaning. In part, I think, it is to avoid judgment which can lead to a change in behavior that benefits individuals and the wider culture. Failing to identify certain behavior for what it is can have the effect of legitimizing that behavior in the eyes of people who are engaging in it and in the wider culture that refuses to accept a standard defining right and wrong.

How many speak of cheating on one’s spouse, as Wade is alleged to have done, as “adultery”? Today’s preferred description is “a romantic relationship.” Going on “vacation” with a woman not your wife or a man not your husband is now considered as legitimate as a married couple enjoying a similar experience.

Could we also stop saying “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” when speaking of adults? These are not dating teenagers. They are mature people who have presumably been exposed to what used to be called the right way to live, but who have chosen another way.

Lying doesn’t always bring the consequences it once did, even when witnesses take an oath to tell the truth. It is more than fishy that Wade and Willis exchanged cash and have no receipts or other records to back up their claims of legal behavior and propriety. Wade refused to say where he keeps his cash, but suggested some of it might be under his pillow. Willis said she once paid Wade $2,500 in cash that came from her pocketbook. Who carries around that kind of money? Wade even obfuscated on whether he used a credit card and how he was reimbursed for part of his expenditures when he and Willis traveled together. Who doesn’t keep receipts, especially for tax purposes? Will the IRS investigate?

Two of the Ten Commandments prohibit adultery and bearing false witness. Those two forms of behavior are increasingly allowed in our “non-judgmental” culture. We see daily the corrosion violating these commands have caused.

Using words that accurately describe behavior, instead of euphemisms, can have the effect of limiting that behavior. It once seemed to. Approving, or at least failing to reject such behavior, contributes to more of it. As one translation of Proverbs 29:18 puts it, “If a nation is not guided by God, the people will lose self-control” (ERV).

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