I was watching The McLaughlin Group yesterday and one of the group commented that one of the candidates tended to “go off the reservation.” I don’t know about you, but I find that phrase highly offensive on many levels. Primarily, it implies that people have defined places in which they must remain. I find that very concept objectionable, but when one adds the historical reality of “reservations,” it’s not only unconscionably racist framing, it’s also classist.
In this context, the commenter was talking about veering from the political party’s platform and saying stupid crap while on the campaign trail. Now, I’m no happier than anyone when a politician opens his/her mouth before engaging his/her brain, but surely she could have found a less vile term with which to make her point.