Taking back the internet, one word at a time

18 Jan

This word has popped up into my world recently.


In case it’s not glaringly obvious to you, it is a combination of the words “liberal” and “retard” – as in, you’re SO liberal, you must be retarded.


And if that isn’t bad enough, there is also the companion word – Conservatard.

As my one friend says “I’m sorry, but what year do we live in?”  Even more than that, how mature is society at this point, that people who are technically adults are creating words like “libtard” to fling when political discussions don’t go their way?  Just how old are we anyway, that this is the best we can do in debates?

I spent a good portion of yesterday debating the use of words like “retard” and “libtard” on Facebook, on a friend’s page (with her blessing.)  Two grown men kept defending the right of usage for these words – even after they stated “Oh, I’d NEVER use them myself…but…”

But what?  Please, explain to me so I can understand. (That didn’t happen.)

At one point of the conversation, one person said that since the word “libtard” was out there on the internet, there was nothing we could do about it.  That there is no way we could stop the word from being used.  I told him if he stood by and did nothing to call people out on this sort of thing, then he himself was part of the problem.

Why are we so quick to accept bad behavior when it’s on the internet?  Why do we go “Well, it’s there, nothing we can do about it?”  or “Oh, just leave it be.” Why is it allowed?

If a group of kids were kicking one kid on the playground, would we stand by going “Well, it’s started, there’s nothing we can do now.” ?  No.  We’d stop it.

So why can’t we call people out on their bad behavior online?

Why we do allow snarky people to use words like “libtard” and get away with it?

It’s not about freedom of speech.  I’m not here to take away anyone’s rights.  It’s about common courtesy, respect, and better word choices.

For a country with so much access to education, surely we have better vocabularies than “libtard” and “conservatard”.  Surely we can have more inspired political debates than stooping to junior high-ish name calling?  Surely there is a better insult out there than some form of “retard”?

Because let me tell you, for me and my friends (who are from all walks of life, with all sorts of voting records) – if you use a “tard” name to describe someone, your argument becomes invalid.   If you have to stoop to boorish name-calling, then we shall assume that your argument cannot possibly be a compelling one.

And again I shall say – when you use the word retard/libtard/conservatard, the only person who looks stupid is yourself.

As for those who don’t use these words, do me a favor – if you hear a word like this being used, call the person out on it.  Stop the conversation and say “Excuse me? No.”   Be part of the solution.  Take your internet world back.  Expect positive behavior from people.   Make the internet a better place.



11 Responses to “Taking back the internet, one word at a time”

  1. Julie Dinkins-Borkowski January 18, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    I am soooooo sharing this post as much as possible. I have tried to have this conversation, but it never came out rich. You have penned the words beautifully. TY

    • phoebz4 January 18, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

      Thank you for sharing it!

      • politicaljules January 18, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

        I meant “it never came out ‘right'” Spell checker errors!!

  2. Aminda January 18, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

    If a group of kids were kicking one kid on the playground, would we stand by going “Well, it’s started, there’s nothing we can do now.” ? No. We’d stop it. Sadly this is just not true bullying goes on all over all the time and not everyone tries to stop it…it’s a sad truth about us “humans” …I had not heard the conservative version…but i have been called Libtard on more than one occasion. and seen it used countless times…believe me I call them out 😉 Since a conversation with a friend I have made a decidedly concerted effort not to use the word retard derogatorily or any form there of.

    • phoebz4 January 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

      well, the people I know would step in – there is hope for the human race!

  3. Suzanne January 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    I agree completely. Eloquently stated.

  4. Life's Unexpected Blessings January 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    We moved from FL to NC this past June. It was a huge change for my children. We left a big city to live in the country. I have 7 children the oldest two are in high school, a freshman and a junior. They have been complaining to me lately about the excessive use of the r-word by the majority of the students and alot of the teachers. That is a bad word in our home and I do not tolerate it, I will call you out on it and have already done so with some of their friends. After a long conversation with them about speaking up about it I was dissapointed that my kids said they just ignore it. They are afraid to speak up even though the word really bothers them. I told them the day may come when someone uses that word to describe their sister, they are her voice and the voice of all those who cannot defend themselves. I hope with time they will gain the confidence to stand up for what they believe in, I know I am teaching them to do so. But I also get how difficult it can be for them, they are in high school afterall.

    • phoebz4 January 19, 2013 at 6:22 am #

      It would be hard, being the new kids and doing that. A simple way of doing it is just stating quietly “Um, my sister has special needs.” and just leave it out there. See who gets it. But I have the brassy 12 yr old who has no problem telling friends off, lol!

      I get teens not wanting to step forward – adults, there’s a different scenario.

  5. kirsteen January 20, 2013 at 12:01 am #

    Thank you so so much for all of your work against this word! I am a speech therapist and all my friends know that if they ever use the word ‘retard’ around me, they will get a lecture. One day before Christmas I overheard a woman in a store talking to herself. She made some comment that ended with, “they must be retarded here.” Well I gave her a new form of Christmas Cheer. My own children go to work with me frequently, they are young but they know that we are all people. It’s never acceptable to use the ‘r’ word or talk down about anyone. Keep up the good work! It’s why I started following you 🙂 thanks!

  6. Tao2Oat January 25, 2013 at 2:46 am #

    As Always you enlighten me and inspire me. Thank you for sharing this. I have a few peeps that need to read this. Keep up your amazing writing!!!


  1. Taking back the internet, one word at a time (from an excellent blogger at Herding Cats) | Political Jules for Love, Life & the Pursuit of Politics - January 18, 2013

    […] Taking back the internet, one word at a time. […]

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