Speaking out

speak out

Someone has to say it

There is something I simply must speak out about: speaking out!

Have you noticed that nobody ever "comments" about something any more? Or "makes remarks," "gives their opinion," "expresses their views," or just "talks about" things?

No, everyone now speaks out. Stories on the news are introduced with "So and so speaks out..." The crawler on the bottom of CNN carries the text "Whatshisface speaks out..." Google finds references for about 110,700 articles containing the phrase "speak out" or "speaks out" just in the title.

The phrase speaking out carries the sense of making oneself heard over other voices or of making bold, perhaps daring or unpopular, assertions, as in the face of authority. Patrick Henry was speaking out when he stood before the Virginia Convention and cried out, "Give me liberty or give me death!" Martin Luther was speaking out when he defied the Catholic church by nailing his 95 theses to the Wittenberg church door and said, "Hier stehe ich, ich kann nichts anders." Henry was countering the voices urging conciliation with the Crown, and Luther's criticisms were heresy. That's speaking out! Speaking out is significant.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), who recently sent supporters a mass e-mail proclaiming his innocence of ethical transgressions, spoke out [emphasis added] yesterday on conservative talk radio shows.

DeLay, speaking from his district in suburban Houston, stuck to his vow to increase the congressional oversight of federal judges after they refused to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case. "We have the opportunity to set up courts; we can also dismantle courts and reorganize them," DeLay told Tony Snow on Fox News Radio.

Asked if he would include any Supreme Court justices among those he considers activist and isolated, DeLay singled out Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who was named to the court by President Ronald Reagan. "Absolutely," DeLay replied. "We've got Justice Kennedy writing decisions based upon international law, not the Constitution of the United States. That's just outrageous. And not only that, but he said in session that he does his own research on the Internet? That is just incredibly outrageous."

But Tom Delay carrying on because Supreme Court Justice Stevens said he'd looked on the internet before writing a recent opinion on the death penalty for juveniles? That's not speaking out, no matter what the Washington Post says. That's just the ranting of a crazy man having a tantrum because the courts disagreed with him.

This overuse of "speaking out" is consistent though with what happens on most of talk radio and the cable news channels — people simply shout at each other, and if someone disagrees, talk over them.

So enough with the speaking out! I had to speak out.