Let’s make something very clear. The word semantics is about meaning, specifically the meaning of a word, phrase, sentence, or text. It’s semantics if you say what I mean a different way.
For example, if I said, “I want to buy a blue balloon because they’re my favorite“, and you said that I like balloons, there is room for interpretation. Do I like balloons or do I just like blue balloons? Or, do I like the color blue and wanted the balloon because it’s blue?
It’s semantics because both blue and balloons are the object and it could mean either blue or the balloon, at which point I can clarify what I meant.
It’s not semantics, however, if you add your own spin, take words out of context, and/or misconstrue or misrepresent what I said to mean something other than I did. You’re just wrong.
For example, if I said, “I’m going to a business meeting and I’m hopeful that it will go well and we’ll come to some understanding and make progress,” then you said, I said I was confident that the meeting will come to a positive conclusion, you’re just plain wrong.
Confident and hopeful, even though confident can be a synonym for hopeful, in the context used, they don’t quite mean the same thing – you’ve changed the meaning. Being optimistic or having a good feeling about something (hopeful) is not the same thing as being sure about something (confident).
Also, the result was changed. “Coming to an understanding and making progress” is not the same as “coming to a positive conclusion”.
On the political spectrum, this is why I give President Biden a pass on some things and don’t afford former-President Trump the same leeway.
Trump spoke in veiled language. He said something without really saying it, but everyone “kind of” knew what he meant. That was his thing, and he used that ambiguity to let people take what he said to mean whatever they wanted it to mean. It gave him a measure of security to say, “well, that’s not what I meant” and get away with it.
Biden on the other hand, actually says what he means most of the time.
So when the media could easily run wild on Trump, especially liberal media, conservative media is having trouble running wild on Biden, so they fall back to the same old tactics they used with Obama.
They’ll talk about Biden’s speech impediment, make suppositions about his mental health, his wife’s clothing, and all of this tangential, secondary stuff that has nothing to do with anything and sensationalize it.
Side Note: Because Michelle Obama showing arms in a sleeveless top, or Jill Biden wearing lace tights that can only be seen from the knees down is oh such a big offense! But Melania Trump literally nude is God’s handiwork on display… while the same people quote modesty from the Bible to every other woman and try to dictate how women dress with restrictive dress codes and crop out breasts from High School year books.
Anyway, moving away from politics, when I make statements or host debates, many of the debates stop because people want to take what was said out of context to make it mean something other than what I meant, and I won’t let them.
I’ll often say things like, “read what I said, not what you think I mean,” because sadly, people actually saying what they mean isn’t as common as it used to be, and some people tend to belittle and put down people who say what they mean… until they agree with them of course.
What I’m saying is that words have meaning, and the best way to find out what someone means is to just ask them, and don’t be surprised if they say they’ve said exactly what they meant to say.
Any confusion or misunderstanding after that is not on them. That is on you to step up your game, ask questions, and try to understand what was actually meant.
I know that might be hard thing to hear, and I apologize if it is.
The truth is that we are all adults, and personal responsibility is a very real thing. It’s not on anyone but you to make sure that you understand what’s being said.
We all have to grow and grow up, myself included.