If it's true that we live in a conservative country with a permanent Republican majority — or anywhere close — it is important to know what they're talking about.
So your humble servant offers this handy translation guide. I promise to update it as I think of new words and phrases or commenters offer up good ones. And enjoy more meaningful conversations with your red friends.
Activist Judges: Jurists who make rulings with which conservatives disagree. Antonyms: A Supreme Court that decides an election the Constitution insists should have gone to the House of Representatives or gives the rights (but not responsibilities) of citizenship to corporations, reversing decades of precedents.
American Exceptionalism: The United States is uniquely virtuous and commanded by God to work its will on other peoples. The greatest country in the world. Slavery, Jim Crow, lynchings, the conquest and near extermination of 500 Indian nations, stealing half of Mexico in a slavery-driven war, Japanese internment, and the deaths of innocents in our wars of choice are not part of this exceptionalism. Nor do any other nations believe they are exceptional.
Birth Certificate: A forged document to allow the illegal election of Barack Hussein Obama.
Boondoggle: Any public investment that conservatives disagree with, which is pretty much anything. Antonym: Funding freeways and subsidies for defense contractors, fossil fuel companies, and other politically connected corporations.
Citizen: A corporation.
Christian Nation: The idea that not only the Declaration of Independence but the Constitution were grounded in the tenets of today's megachurch fundamentalism, and there should be no impediment to laws based on "Christian" beliefs. "Judeo-Christian" is allowed so long as the Jews agree with Bibi Netanyahu.
Christian Values: Male supremacy. Fundamentalism. "God hates fags." A family is a man, woman, and children. End Times theology. Might makes right. Antonyms: grace, compassion, forgiveness, peace, humility, and special attention to the poor.
Class Warfare: Any discussion of today's historic level of inequality or activism to raise the minimum wage, make unionization easier, or raise taxes on the wealthy.
Climate Change: A hoax perpetuated by liberals and climate scientists to make us ride light rail and live in city condos.
Communist: See Eisenhower, Dwight David.
Conservative: Someone who agrees with us. On everything.