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Over the years, certain words have become off limits because they are offensive beyond the norm. By now, most people know to avoid using what has been labeled the N-Word or the R-Word, for example.

So why has it become acceptable to use a portion of the R-word — tard — and add it onto the first part of the political party you don’t agree with? That’s extremely offensive to say the least. It shows either a hardened attitude or lack of understanding. Moreover, it reflects poorly on the person using the term.

It is shocking to read political discussions on social media and see how often these terms are used. And both sides are guilty of using this highly offensive term and creating the new words with it.

So how has this happened?

We know the boundaries on political speech are continually being pushed. There is always something new and offensive, so it has gone from being sprinkled into conversations without anyone responding to gradually being used more often. We suspect that over time, people have accepted it.

That doesn’t make it right.

For those who truly don’t know better and don’t see why it is wrong, consider this. There is a significant portion of the population who has limitations in mental functioning or who has trouble communicating. It is something that is beyond their control.

Everyone has limitations, including the greatest athlete, greatest actor or greatest thinker. To label someone for a physical feature such as a big nose or being overweight is not acceptable, so why should it be acceptable to call someone a term implying they have cognitive limitations?

Using these terms causes pain. Using such words also reflects poorly on the individual writing them. Using that language shows a lack of sophistication — something in part the offending person hopes to impose on the other side.

This doesn’t mean there needs to be legislation to stop it. Just like politicians cannot write a law for manners, it would be impossible to write a law governing polite conversation.

But everyone can and should help to monitor it. Whether it is on social media or coffee shop talk, point out that such terms are offensive. Even ask the offender if they think their grandmother would approve of such a term? Polite people would get the hint.

And for those still unclear, look at it this way. If you think someone lacks intelligence, offer your thoughts as to why resorting to offensive language is flawed. Don’t describe them or their political party as someone with a cognitive disability. That is just not acceptable.

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