Letter: Going Forward

Tuesday, March 22 2016

Dear Editor,

Could we please impose a moratorium on the obnoxious political cliché “going forward”? At best its employment is ambiguous. Does it refer to space or time? All too often use of the phrase masks a falsity of intent. If it is intended merely to indicate future time, then its use is simply redundant. Any future verb tense amply indicates the arrow of time. But the phrase as it is usually trotted out by its devotees also holds out a promise, whether implicit or explicit, of future progress, i.e. of improvement. 

Alas, experience demonstrates time and time again that politicians, in particular, all too often proffer lavish promises for the future but, as often as not, soon enough find excuses for either sidestepping the issue (i.e. going sideways) or performing an out and out reactionary retreat (i.e. going backwards). If you don’t find this sufficient reason to excise this unhelpful expression from our collective vocabulary, consider that “going forward” is always a highly inadvisable move if we find ourselves teetering near the edge of an abyss in a fog, as I rather think we are.

~ David Bouvier