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Musings from a Millennial: A Label Does Not Make It So

Editor’s Note: The views stated here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the other editors of this newspaper. We welcome supporting or opposing views on any published item.

By Meghan Peterson

(February 11, 2024) — “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” – Aldous Huxley

“In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”  – George Orwell.

Little people, otherwise known as children, never cease to amaze me. And my little people are no exception to this. In my case, they tend to spark gems of wisdom throughout our dinner table conversation.

Recently, at such a dinner table conversation over some of their mama’s rather bland cooking (at least, I do not burn dinner as often as I used to!), my oldest asked me as he reached for the jar of pickles, “Mommy, if I took this label off the jar and placed it on here…” pointing to a bottle of ketchup, “would that make the ketchup bottle full of pickles?” In turn, I asked, “Well, would the ketchup turn into pickles simply because you put the label on the bottle? Do you see pickles in the ketchup bottle or is it still ketchup?” He paused and answered, “No, Mommy, it is still ketchup.”

This exchange got me thinking, as I was elbow-deep in washing the dishes, as the little people played with Legos™, intermittently zooming past me asking if they could have “just one more chocolate chip cookie please!”: just because you slap a label on something does not make it so.

Facts matter. In an era of disinformation and misinformation, this is particularly important.

A cat is not a dog any more than it can become one – even if someone placed a dog collar on the cat and said “This Cat Is Now Dog.”

A man is not a woman any more than he can become she – even if surgery is conducted or puberty blockers are deployed.

Unethical actions do not suddenly become ethical or right because a group of people label it as “feeling right.”

A government that targets, surveils and jails a group of people for exercising a constitutional right to free speech is neither inclusive nor tolerant. It is as progressive as a Medieval-era torture device, which is to say, it is not.

It is semi-humorous that the same individuals who want to use and apply labels at random are the ones most quick to swap out labels at will.

Deniers of fact and truth will always stick around. Thankfully, facts and truth stick around longer.

Counterintuitively, telling the truth becomes the new revolutionary act (to borrow George Orwell’s phrase). Perhaps that is the progressive or “woke” thing to do now. That would be quite a label change! Maybe doublespeak will finally be turned on its deceitful head – if we are revolutionary enough to do it.

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