Inspired by Caroline Hagood’s brilliant blog about erasure poetry and the seven words banned to the Centers for Disease Control (“Banned Words and Erasure Poetry”), I’ve come up with a little intervention of my own. Earlier I wrote about how the Trump administration’s action reminded me of George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.” Observing the American obsession with violence, and echoing the sentiment that he would rather a child watch a film of two people making love than of two people trying to kill each other, Carlin suggested replacing the word “kill” with the word “fuck.” The result would bring new meaning to many a script.
So with this idea in mind, I’ve taken excerpts from Trump’s inauguration day speech and substituted some words, or their variants, from the CDC list for certain of Trump’s words. Thus, I’ve replaced the word “people” with the word “vulnerable,” “country” with “entitlement,” “America” with “diversity,” “American” with “diverse,” and “great” with “transgender.” Here is the result:
“We, the citizens of diversity, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our entitlement and restore its promise for all of our vulnerable. Together, we will determine the course of diversity and the world for many, many years to come. We will face challenges, we will confront hardships, but we will get the job done. It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across diversity. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of diversity, is your entitlement. What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the vulnerable.
We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only diversity first, diversity first.
“The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s vulnerable live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When diversity is united, diversity is totally unstoppable. Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams will define our diverse destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way. Together, we will make diversity strong again. We will make diversity wealthy again. We will make diversity proud again. We will make diversity safe again. And yes, together we will make diversity transgender again.”
I find this version more hopeful, less jingoistic, easier to applaud. So let’s all keep using these “forbidden” words and keep working for a more diverse, transgender, and evidence-based world.