Not so long ago, the city of Redmond, Oregon, (a town I really like), installed asphalt humps across some residential streets. I’m sure the intent is to slow traffic and make it safer for kids, cats and old people to cross the street. I’m good with that.
However, the signs warning drivers of the humps in the road say, “Speed Cushion.” I’m not good with that. It is a stark reminder that bureaucracies, activists and politicians mess with the language in an attempt to disguise the truth. In this example, the word “cushion” suggests something benign, soft and comforting, but no matter what you call it, an asphalt hump in the road is anything but soft or comforting. I still like “Speed Bump.” It’s more honest.
I am also reminded of those who first used global warming as a term to push social change. When some scientists challenged the premise of global warming and the assertion it was human caused, the proponents just changed the phrase to “climate change,” and essentially said, “There. That takes care of that.” Just as if a hump in the road called a speed cushion is not really a speed bump, people who say “climate change” don’t want us to think they actually mean “global warming.”
I also think politicians and activists make up statistics to support their points of view, regardless of the truth. But that’s something for another day. In the meantime, look out for those speed cushions in Redmond, Oregon.