I read newspapers voraciously. Especially opinion columns, whether they be personal opinion columns or opinions formulated by a newspaper’s editorial board. The latter are group opinions where the subject matter is discussed among a group of people who usually have proven their ability to formulate reasonable, fact-based opinions, well thought out and reasonably framed. The subject is thoughtfully discussed and intellectually considered.
In mainstream media newspapers issues are looked at from a non-partisan, reasonable viewpoint, unfettered by ideological bias.
Usually, one person is assigned to write the editorial board’s opinion and his or her product is then critiqued by the full group before the piece makes it to the printed page.
Conservative columnist George Will is among my favorite personal opinion writers. I’ve heard him speak in person twice during my lifetime and found his elocution in front of a microphone as spellbinding as his written word.
Will has, to me, a stunning command of the English language and his extensive vocabulary often sends me to the dictionary to learn about words I have seldom, or never, heard before.
While I don’t often use such words, it gives me a self-satisfied feeling to know that I know them.
Such a word came to me Tuesday morning as I read The Washington Post’s editorial page opinion on President Trump’s firing of Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community’s inspector general.
Atkinson, the opinion posed, was fired for doing his job, a fact that Trump openly admitted in a press conference. “His reward,” the opinion read, “was to have his career upended by a president who regards the U.S. government as his personal satrapy.”
Satrapy! While there may be lots of readers out there that are unfazed by the use of that word, it was new to me. I scurried for the dictionary.
A satrap, I learned, was a provincial governor in the ancient Persian empire, or any subordinate or local ruler. A satrapy, therefore, is that ruler’s personal domain.
Would I have used another word to describe the president’s view of the U.S. government? Of course.
But I like satrapy.