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PUSILLANIMOUS, CRAVEN, DASTARDLY: ETYMOLOGIES, WITH EXAMPLES   PART 2

THIS ALL STARTED with my seeking descriptions of certain U.S. Senators participating in the Trump sequel to his first impeachment. The nickel word “pusillanimous” came to mind in Part 1; “craven” and “dastardly” are here in Part 2, with nuances and examples. A primary source is Merriam-Webster Online.

Craven = Defeated. Craven cowards have been around since the 13th century, with the implication of being vanquished in their cowardliness. Merriam-Webster says that today “craven” carries with it “lacking the least bit of courage: contemptibly fainthearted.” 

Example: 43 Republican Senators who put reelection ahead of anything resembling personal integrity.

Richard Milhouse “Dick” Dastardly, created by Hanna-Barbera Productions. One of his catchphrases: “Drat, drat and double drat!” Image from warnerbros.fandom.com.

Dastardly = Treacherously. Merriam-Webster defines “dastardly” as “characterized by underhandedness or treachery.” Its first use in English was in 1542, derived from the Middle English word for “cowardly.”

Example: Imagine a politician hitting up another to dig up dirt on a family member of a third. Or trying to force an official into changing election results.

Such a politician might be called a dastard, or maybe worse.

The January 6 Insurrection. You may recall January 6, 2021, and Trump’s pronouncements to the Washington, D.C., rally. “We will stop the steal,” he said.  “We won by a landslide… This was not a close election,” “We’re gonna walk down, I’ll be with you, to the Capitol,” “When you catch somebody in fraud, you’re allowed to go by very different rules…,” and, “…if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country any more.” 

Trump at the rally protesting Electoral College certification of Biden’s election, immediately prior to the U.S. Capitol insurrection on January 6, 2021. Image by Evan Vucci/AP from startribune.com.

These comments and the resulting mayhem have been documented by the U.S. Congress.

Storming the U.S. Capitol, January 6, 2021. Image from Science magazine, January 15, 2021.

Speaking of Craven.… On January 19, the day before the inauguration, Senator Mitch McConnell said, “The last time the Senate convened, we had just reclaimed the Capitol from violent criminals who tried to stop Congress from doing our duty. The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the President and other powerful people.”

Addison Mitchell McConnell, Jr., Alabama-born 1942, American Republican politician, senior Senator from Kentucky; since January 20, 2021, Senate Minority Leader. Image by Scott Applewhite/AP.

On February 12, as reported by cnbc.com, McConnell “told his Republican colleagues in an email … that he would vote to acquit Donald Trump in the former president’s second impeachment trial.”

Was this the same Mitch McConnell who spoke on January 19th?

On February 13, 2021, only seven Republicans eschewed craven, dastardly, pusillanimous behavior. These seven, whom Merriam-Webster would be accurate in calling brave, courageous, dauntless, gallant, gutsy, heroic, and valiant are Richard Burr, North Carolina; Bill Cassidy, Louisiana; Susan Collins, Maine; Lisa Murkowski, Alaska; Mitt Romney, Utah; Ben Sasse, Nebraska; and Patrick Toomey, Pennsylvania. They voted for conviction.

That same day, as reported in cnn.com, Mitch McConnell said, “January 6th was a disgrace. American citizens attacked their own government…. They did this because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth—because he was angry he’d lost an election. Former President Trump’s actions preceding the riot were a disgraceful dereliction of duty.” 

Was this the same Mitch McConnell? He and 42 other Republican Senators had just voted for acquittal.

You may call them anything you like; I’ve offered suggestions here. 

Trump’s Doubling-down. Four hours after the Capitol was breached on January 6, 2021, Trump had already doubled-down on the matter: “These are things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped from great patriots who have been badly and unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”

I sure as hell will remember. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2021

2 comments on “PUSILLANIMOUS, CRAVEN, DASTARDLY: ETYMOLOGIES, WITH EXAMPLES   PART 2

  1. Mark W
    February 17, 2021

    I think all the old descriptions have a new companion, summary word: republican.

    • simanaitissays
      February 17, 2021

      I know what you mean, Mark. Also, lets applaud the courage of Republicans Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Richard Burr, Ben Sasse, Bill Cassidy, Patrick Toomey, and others. Would that other Republicans derive strength from the integrity of these brave people.
      (And isn’t it a sad commentary that being termed courageous comes from their expressing truth? One would hope truth is a given, not an extraordinary goal.)

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