Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Going Forward

I recently heard a government official pay a sparkling tribute to a pioneer in her field, until the end of the remarks when a hiccup of bureaucratic jargon let the fizz out of the speech. The speaker honored the pioneer by declaring that because her early work was so courageous and inspirational, her successors “have kept the promise – and we will! Going forward.”

I hate clichés, abjure words that have no meaning and wonder why people with first-rate minds feel the need to bloat their extemporaneous thought with phrases that truck drivers find banal and that dilute thought, which is always embellished by brevity. As a writer, editor and former journalism teacher, I live by one rule: If in doubt, cut it out. The best rewriting is done with the “del” key.

Here is a "thought experiment" (as if other experiments require no thought, though putting Sarah Palin on the GOP ticket may nullify my proposition.) Take "going forward," which I am certain you hear at least 50 times a day, and imagine its use going backward.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character going forward.

And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country going forward.

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear going forward is fear itself.

I know not what course others may take going forward, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.

Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will be going forward in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

Their cause must be our cause too. Because it's not just Negroes, but really it's all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome going forward.

For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die going forward.

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