Word of the Day – bully pulpit-2
Bully pulpit (noun) BULL-ee-PULL-pit
: a prominent public position (as a political office) that provides an opportunity for expounding one’s views; also : such an opportunity
“Candidates for governor like to make people think they set the vision. But the governor has a bully pulpit and little else. He or she may be in a position to push or prod or convene a task force or two, but nothing happens if the other players don’t agree.” — Jay Evensen, The Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah), 28 Sept. 2016
“Land use is a local responsibility, and the federal government has limited power to make cities build more housing. Still, the Obama administration is increasingly using the bully pulpit to tell urban progressives that if they care about income inequality, they ought to care about building more housing.'” — Kerry Cavanaugh, The Los Angeles Times, 26 Sept. 2016
Did You Know?
Bully pulpit comes from the 26th U.S. President, Theodore Roosevelt, who observed that the White House was a bully pulpit. For Roosevelt, bully was an adjective meaning “excellent” or “first-rate”—not the noun bully (“a blustering, browbeating person”) that’s so common today. Roosevelt understood the modern presidency’s power of persuasion and recognized that it gave the incumbent the opportunity to exhort, instruct, or inspire. He took full advantage of his bully pulpit, speaking out about the danger of monopolies, the nation’s growing role as a world power, and other issues important to him. Since the 1970s, bully pulpit has been used as a term for an office—especially a political office—that provides one with the opportunity to share one’s views.
To me, ‘bully pulpit’ looks like two words, but apparently, it’s considered a single one. I find that peculiar. Oh, well. So what. The English language is chock full of discrepancies and rules that don’t seem to make sense.
Back to the word, I discovered that it was first used by President Teddy Roosevelt. He was a big one for preaching, instilling a feeling of the U.S. being an exceptional country speaking out about the dangers of monopolies, power, and all sorts of things important to him. It didn’t take the presidency for him to rise to this standard. Oh, no. He lived and breathed his viewpoints and never missed an opportunity to expound upon them.
I live in New York State, one of the fifty in the country. Several years ago, a movement started right in my home town. Called ‘The Top Free Seven’ they pushed to give women the right to go topless. Just as the suffragettes fought to give women the right to vote, own property and run for political office, they pushed hard, got arrested a few times but eventually, they got a law passed in New York decriminalizing removing one’s top and freeing the breast from covering up. If you’ve not heard about this, I encourage you to read up on it. Here is a good summary. (http://topfreedomnewyork.blogspot.com/2011/05/top-free-7.html) Let’s make it a movement across the country and the world. After all, God made man and woman in his image, and they were nude. Who are we to screw with his plan.
I love learning the different contexts of these words of the day. Don’t you? Please share your comments. I’m sure we would all like to read them.
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