The importance of having a good command of your own language

I don't particularly want to bring politics onto this blog, I do that in forums (forum as defined in a real dictionary) that are appropriate to that sort of thing but, I find that something political requires an apolitical comment.
Specifically the recent outbursts surrounding Florida Congressman Alan Grayson on the House floor regarding the health care reform 'debates' that have been going on. When members of the Republican party demanded an apology from him for his statements he said this:
"I would like to apologize, I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven't voted sooner to end this holocaust in America."

A number and variety of people began decrying Rep. Grayson's use of the word 'holocaust', saying that it somehow drew improper comparisons to the Nazi's program of organized murder of Jews, Gypsies, and other "undesirables"; or that he was somehow claiming that the US insurance industry was carrying out a similar program on the people of the United States. I think this is (regardless of my opinions on the insurance industry, health-care reform, the US government, politicians, US politics, etc.) deplorable and detracts from the actual substantive issues that Grayson brought up.

The problem here is Grayson's decriers can't differentiate between two very similar but different terms. One is 'The Holocaust', the phrase you won't see in Grayson's speech, which refers to the Nazi's "Final Solution". The other is 'holocaust', the word you will see in Grayson's "non-apology" which you can easily find in any decent dictionary (but I have reproduced the most relevant part of the Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary 's [1971, pp1320, vol.1] entry below for your convenience, specifically the second meaning)
Holocaust 2 transf and fig a. A complete sacrifice or offering.
b. A sacrifice on a large scale.
c. Complete consumption by fire, or that which is so consumed; complete destruction, esp. of a large number of persons; a great slaughter or massacre.

If you read that definition and listen to Grayson's full statement I think you will find that Grayson's use of the word 'holocaust' is, while rather hyperbolic, fitting and not actually derogatory or denigrating to any group of people or the reverence of victims of atrocities committed at most any point in history. It wasn't too long ago that "nuclear holocaust" was a popular literary turn of phrase and regularly appeared in books, magazines and even movies (or at least movie synopses) without anyone raising an outcry about denigrating the memories of people killed in systematic atrocities perpetrated over half a century ago.

Hopefully I have made my point relatively clear here, in case I haven't, here it is:

Don't be an idiot, know what words mean and know how to differentiate between regular nouns used to describe events and proper nouns which were derived from them and applied as labels to specific events.

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