June 16, 2002

Down with "Homeland Security"!

Not the concept, down with the words themselves. This terminology bothered me the instant I heard it for the first time. It has a Nazi ring to it, I thought, and I marveled at how the media were so quick to adopt the phrase without it sticking in their throats.

I'm happy to discover that I'm not the only one chafed by this term. Mickey Kaus, from Slate, has written The Trouble with 'Homeland', which points to Rudy's Duty. Plus: Homeland Ain't No American Word by conservative maven Peggy Noonan. Inspired by these articles, Josh Marshall did some online searches to try to find out where this "homeland" thing came from, other than the Third Reich. He traces it back to some recommendations by the National Defense Panel in 1997 and then further back to the conservative thinktank Heritage Foundation in 1985. It's interesting to see how a meme can lie hidden for years and then pop into public awareness overnight.

Words carry their own baggage filled with souvenirs from all the other words they've ever spent time with. "Homeland" is a word that's been in lots of bad company and it's time for send it on its way. Domestic Security sounds more American to me.

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