Sunday, April 22, 2012

Truth, Fairness, and the American Way

Do you ever have allergic reactions to words? I do. The ones that usually make me itch are the pseudo-intellectual trendy expressions like “gravitas” or “meme,” but lately the word that’s been giving me hives is a simple old Anglo-Saxon word – “fair.”  In fact when it’s coupled with another old word, “share,” it makes my skin positively crawl. It’s an expression a 4-year-old would use and demonstrates about the same level of economic awareness. What’s worse, it’s our president who’s using it.

It’s true that fairness is a value buried in the hearts of all decent people; even small children are deeply aware of its importance. When my youngest granddaughter was little more than a year old she expressed her sense of outraged justice one day when she saw her older sister enjoying a lollypop. They’d both been given one the night before and wise Julia had saved some of hers for the next day. Little Violet hadn’t planned that well and had finished hers off before bed. When her mother told her no, she couldn’t have another one, her eyes filled with tears, her lower lip quivered and with great indignation she said her first sentence – “Julia lolly.”