Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The interregnum

I heard it on the radio yesterday. Someone spoke of the "interregnum" between the end of the Bush administration and the beginning of the Obama administration.

No, no, no. "Interregnum" derives from the Latin meaning "between 2 reigns" (or kings).

The US president -- despite the pretensions of the venal politicians who inhabit this post -- is not a king. Having an "inauguration" complete with parades only reinforces political vanity, but we can't do anything about that).

What we can do is use precise language and hold precise ideas. What we're dealing with is a transition from one administrator of the executive department to another: hence, we call them -- for instance -- "the administration of Jimmy Carter." Or whomever.

But he's not a king (or a queen). Neither the ones we like or the ones we don't. Treating them as if they were only makes things worse.

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