The Difference Words Can Make

Ad hominem literally means “to the person” in Latin, as first used in post-medieval texts. An “argument ad hominem” meant a valid method of persuasion taking advantage of an opponent’s interests or feelings, instead of just sticking to general principles. Ad hominem later came to describe an attack aimed at an opponent’s character, the sense used today. The hostile nature of such attacks has led to this term meaning “against the person,” rather than its original Latin meaning of “to the person”, or engaging one’s opponent.

Ah, for more to and less against! These two nondescript words, to and against–what a difference they make. And today, we see the latter used so consistently, we stand to forget what the former can mean in civil society. It’s sad and frightening.

So we turn to…beauty! Here’s a shot from our road yesterday…what a glorious firmament, to use some old-fashioned terms. Just before I took it, the sun lent a shiny backdrop to the tallest tree–I think Lance would’ve been quicker on the draw and captured that. Still, the scene took me away from all the bitterness and unveiled hatred in our society.

This sky portends the storm upon us now. We’re getting heavy rain, much needed for this dry country. It’s turning to sleet, and by Monday, the forecast is 17-24 inches of snow.

As they say during Iowa blizzards, it’s hunkering down time. Sometimes we need to do this emotionally, too. Maybe we’ll go out into the fray again later. But for now, the sight of pines under these skies and the incredible beauty we know will accompany the snow suffices.

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