Dan Patterson

What is an ism? Well, they are everywhere. That silly short sentence still doesn’t answer the question.

Is an ism a terrorist from the Middle East? Is an ism a type of religion?

If we spot a “whole bunch” of suspicious looking isms, should we call 911, circle our wagons or wait for the calvary?

Hopefully this riveting question will be answered in a timely manner. The average reading time for this column is three minutes and five seconds.

Many people are of the opinion that I should add a dash of professionalism. I could not agree with them more.

Penning a proper column requires more than a dash of rural witticism. Most successful writers base their articles on a modicum of intellectualism, which ultimately ends up as quality journalism.

I’m working really hard on that.

Our media is abuzz with words such as cronyism and narcissism. Sermons are tough to preach without using the ism word. Lectures are difficult to present without employing the dreaded ism. Political speeches are dead in the water without a washtub load of isms. Mr. Webster himself tells us that he has 3,824 words ending in ism, and he is working on more.

Sadly, optimism is outnumbered convincingly when I search for some positive words ending in ism. On the other hand, there are a whole host of dark and dreary words which conclude with ism.

Cynicism is a by-product of overworked words such as hedonism, charlatanism, antagonism and criticism.

This lengthy list adds to the widening schism between those who support liberalism and those who favor conservatism.

One criticism of today’s media is the never-ending squall of sensationalism which seems to mask a problem under a façade of fatalism.

The utter negativism chronicled by the words sexism, atheism, racism, secularism and narcissism all but stifles any hope of patriotism.

Now I fully realize and understand that many of today’s news stories need to be openly and fairly reported just as they are.

The news would surely become a useful truism and not an elusive cloud of skepticism based on some half-baked idealism.

Today, our two primary political parties both pander to word games.

The party on the left supports progressivism and liberalism. The group on the right believes conservatism partnered with fundamentalism holds the key for our country.

Both groups render lip service to capitalism and feign disdain for communism. Each one voices golden words for humanitarianism at home and overseas.

The one dividing difference separating the two parties is one party wants to start that great and good work here in America first and foremost.

The other well-intentioned group wants to rescue the world and then see after America.

I don’t know about you, but this senior citizen is just about out of isms. I toyed with the idea of closing this writing with a euphemism.

I decided to just not do that. I was never comfortable or confident using too many genteelisms.


DAN PATTERSON, who’s retired from the Paris Parks and Recreation Department, grew up near the state line and now lives in Paris. He can be reached by email at jdanpat@yahoo.com.

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