Hold Your Fire If You’re About To Launch A War Metaphor

- “Trump Fires Back Against Fallen Muslim-American Soldier’s Father.”

- “Donald Trump Targets Muslim Soldier’s Parents Over ‘Sacrifice’ Remark.”

- Donald Trump has been in a “war of words with the parents of a Muslim Army captain who was killed in Iraq.”

Those are headlines and copy from some stories in the media this week.

Three things come to mind:

1. It seems insensitive to use war or violent metaphors in stories that involve the death of Army Capt. Humayun Khan in Iraq and his parents’ high-profile comments about Trump. What’s going on between Trump and the Khan family is not a “war” when compared to what Capt. Khan experienced.

2. As we’ve said before, clichés are to be avoided at all costs — especially during election years, when they spread like wildfire.  In a Hall of Fame for clichés, war-related ones would be among the first inductees.

3. On any given day there may be an attack or battle in which people are killed. The juxtaposition of a headline or story about politics that is peppered with war clichés alongside news of real people dying in real warfare can make it look as if we’re not careful with our words.

Speaking of campaign clichés, two others phrases have been brought to our attention in recent weeks — “on the campaign trail” and “threading the needle.” You can probably think of others you’ve heard or read that sound tired. Let’s try to avoid all of them. The AP’s list of campaign clichés includes:

- Horse race
- Laundry list
- Pressing the flesh
- Barnstormed
- All those state nicknames

(“Memmos;” Aug. 2, 2016)

August 2, 2016

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