I may have grown up in the Age of Aquarius, but I’m growing old in the Age of the Acronym. — Pointer Institute writing coach Roy Peter Clark
Is their someone in Congress whose sole job is to create backronyms for legislation? You know a supposedly “clever” acronym derived from the intent of a bill.
Today’s contorted example is delivered via the morning paper’s editorial rightly chiding the author of a congressional bill intended to curb so-called hate speech on college campuses.
A Maryland congressman has introduced a bill called Creating Accountability Measures Protecting University Students Historically Abused, Threatened and Exposed to Crimes Act — CAMPUS HATE Crimes Act.
The editorial explains that the bill would require colleges to clearly define “what is acceptable speech and what is not acceptable speech” on campuses. It would provide grants carry out this First Amendment shredding deed and deny federal aid to those schools that fail to comply with law.
While the proposal deserves derision for its appalling intent, it should be hooted out of the halls of Congress for the wretched act of acronym abuse — a practice that in recent years has become epidemic.
One current example being bandied about is the DREAM Act, which short for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act.
A classic example of pandering by mislabeling is the USA PATRIOT Act — Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, which unpatriotically trampled the Fourth Amendment.
Then there is the DISCLOSE Act that would overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling that held corporations and unions have speech rights. That stands for Disclosure of Information on Spending on Campaigns Leads to Open and Secure Elections Act.
Nevada and other states also have laws on the books with appropriate acronyms, such as the Anti-SLAPP Act — Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, which tries to curb lawsuits meant to shut up opponents through costly litigation.
The Washington Post a couple of years ago created a compendium of twisted acronyms for legislation, almost one for every day of the year.
SWEET Act — Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax Act
FOCUS Act — Fighting Occupied Cell Use So Everyone Drives More Safely Act
FAIR TOW Act — Fair Action for Interstate Recovery Vehicles on Truck Operating Weights Act
SMOKE Act — Stop Selling and Marketing to Our Kids E-Cigarettes Act
TALENT Act — To Aid Gifted and High-Ability Learners by Empowering the Nation’s Teachers Act
IRRIGATE Act — Irrigation Rehabilitation and Renovation for Indian Tribal Governments and Their Economies Act
PREPARE Act — Preparedness and Risk Management for Extreme Weather Patterns Assuring Resilience and Effectiveness Act
GROW AMERICA Act — Generating Renewal, Opportunity, and Work with Accelerated Mobility, Efficiency, and Rebuilding of Infrastructure and Communities throughout America Act
REINS Act — Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act
DRONES Act — Designating Requirements On Notification of Executive-ordered Strikes Act
ROADS SAFE Act — Research of Alcohol Detection Systems for Stopping Alcohol-Related Fatalities Everywhere Act
BRIDGE Act — Building and Renewing Infrastructure for Development and Growth in Employment Act
BALTIMORE Act — Building and Lifting Trust In order to Multiply Opportunities and Racial Equality Act — from a another Maryland congressman, of course.
SOFTWARE Act — Sensible Oversight for Technology which Advances Regulatory Efficiency Act
GIRLS STEM Act — Getting Involved in Researching, Learning, and Studying of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Act
SPEAK FREE Act — Securing Participation, Engagement, and Knowledge Freedom by Reducing Egregious Efforts Act — sound like the opposite of the aforementioned bill.
EGO Act — Eliminating Government-funded Oil-painting Act
Perhaps someone should introduce the END ACRONYM Act — End Needless Derivative Appellations for Contorted Regulations Offering Name-Yielding Memes Act.a