Fall in line?

中国日报网 2014-09-26 11:06



Fall in line?

Reader question:

Please explain “fall in line” in this sentence: “When a decision is taken, every member must fall in line with that decision.”

My comments:

In other words, when a decision is made collectively in an organization – be it a military army or a political party or any membership club – everyone must follow the decision without exception.

And follow the decision in a straight line, without anyone straying off.

This is what the phrase “fall in line” means and implies.

That’s how any organization of many members can function – with all its members, like parts of a big machine, working in unison.

Like it or not, individuals all with their own likes and dislikes, preferences and prejudices, quirks and idiosyncrasies must conform, i.e. do what all others do for the group to function properly as a whole.

The individual cannot go off the grid, so to speak, and go about doing anything on his own.

In other words, everyone must toe the line – the party line, soldier codes or membership guide, as the case may be.

Anyways, you will understand the phrase “fall in line” better by watching soldiers march in procession. Everyone maintains his position in relation to others and, indeed, when everyone toes the line, one following another, the whole group will be able to move beautifully in a body, (as if they were) one big body.

In short, a number of people or things should or need to fall in line so that everything will, to use another phrase, fall in place – fitting perfectly together and making sense.

This makes sense, doesn’t it?

It does, unless you do want to go off the grid all the time. In that case, of course, make sure that you do not join a club – any club, army or party at all.

All right, here are media examples:

1. When it came down to the wire, Democratic unity won and Republican unity fell apart. For a time after the primaries, when supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton vowed they would not support Sen. Barack Obama, it seemed as though the Democratic Party was going to split into two factions.

That didn’t happen because Clinton made certain to show her supporters during the Democratic National Convention that she stood behind her former opponent. And eventually, her husband, former President Bill Clinton did his part to assure the electorate that democrats must fall in line and elect Obama as president.

In most states and counties, Clinton supporters heard them loud and clear and voted accordingly.

Democrats who supported Hillary Clinton in the New Mexico Democratic primary voted 88% for Obama and 11% for McCain, reported Fox News. Those Democratic Clinton supporters made up 13% of voters.

However, in other states, Hillary supporters fell short of the call. About 100,000 people who voted in the spring Democratic primary in Houston’s Harris County failed to vote in the county’s general election, according to Rice University political scientist Bob Stein told the Houston Chronicle. The Chronicle attributes the fallback to Hispanic Hillary supporters who had not been courted by either Sen. John McCain or Obama leading up to the general election.

When the Clintons cast their ballots on Tuesday, they emphasized the need for Democrats to work across party lines. It seems that unity within and across party lines will be the political theme for Obama’s presidency.

“I look forward to doing all that I can to support President Obama and Vice President Biden in the difficult work that lies ahead,” said Clinton in a statement after Obama was announced the victor on Election Night.

- Election Day Unity Trumps Previous Dissention, BlackEnterprise.com, November 6, 2008.

2. Former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk on Wednesday told Israel’s Army Radio that the time has come for the Jewish state to fall in line with American foreign policy, or risk ruining its relationship with Washington.

“The shift in America’s Middle East interests means that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu must make a choice: Take on the president of the United States, or take on his right wing," said Indyk, who today is Vice President for Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington and remains a top advisor to US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Indyk was referring to Netanyahu’s decision on Wednesday to reject Obama’s demand that he freeze all Jewish construction in parts of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinians.

Obama presumably made the demand when the two leaders met behind closed doors at the White House last month. Netanyahu did agree to a number of other “confidence-building” gestures toward the Palestinians, but insisted that no Israeli leader could ever deny Jews the right to build in their own capital.

Indyk said that kind of attitude is going to do permanent damage to the traditionally-strong Israel-US relationship. The time has come, insisted Indyk, for Israel to choose between its relations with the West and its millennia-old dreams of resettling all of its God-given lands.

Indyk noted that Washington views Israeli settlements as detrimental to US national interests in the Middle East, and Israel's insistence on maintaining those settlements, including Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem, has resulted in a “serious crisis.”

He went on to suggest that Israel is obligated to fall in line with American interests since Israel is the beneficiary of so much US goodwill.

“If Israel is a superpower and does not need $3 billion in military assistance and the protection of the US, and the efforts of the US to isolate and pressure Iran, than go ahead and do what you like. If you need the US then you need to take American interests into account,” said Indyk.

- ‘Time for Israel to fall in line with US agenda’, IsraelToday.co.il, April 22, 2010.

3. Kobe Bryant’s face seemed to instantly boil as he was asked about the “decline” of the Los Angeles Lakers. Such talk has taken root ever since the Dallas Mavericks stunningly swept the Lakers in the second round of the playoffs, ending Los Angeles’ two-year championship reign.


Bryant also addressed two big issues with key teammates: friction with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum’s push for a larger role in the team’s offense.

Gasol has denied reports that there was a conflict between his girlfriend, Silvia Lopez Castro, and Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, which affected team chemistry during the postseason. Bryant echoed those words.

“It’s just not true,” Bryant told Yahoo! Sports. “I don’t know who, where it’s from or who said this or what. It’s just not true; it’s just not true. Pau and I, we know that. It sucks for him to have that kind of stuff going on with his family or whatever he has going on. It couldn’t be further from the truth. The only beef that we have is when I call him ‘soft’ – he gets upset when I call him ‘soft.’ That’s it.”

In regard to the offensive demands that Bynum made Tuesday with local media, Bryant stated that the ball should continue to go through him first, Gasol second.

“Ultimately, [Bynum will] have to fall in line because I’m gonna shoot the ball – we all know that,” Bryant said. “Pau is going to get his touches; he’s No. 2. And then [Andrew] will have to fall in line.”

- Defiant Kobe doesn’t see overhaul in plans, Yahoo.com, May 11, 2011.




About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.



Take a bow?

Stealing a march?

Take it or leave it

They pulled themselves up by their collective bootstraps

Living wage?


(作者张欣 中国日报网英语点津 编辑:陈丹妮)


上一篇 : Take a bow?
下一篇 : Pulling out all the stops?



















关于我们 | 联系方式 | 招聘信息

Copyright by chinadaily.com.cn. All rights reserved. None of this material may be used for any commercial or public use. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 版权声明:本网站所刊登的中国日报网英语点津内容,版权属中国日报网所有,未经协议授权,禁止下载使用。 欢迎愿意与本网站合作的单位或个人与我们联系。



Email: languagetips@chinadaily.com.cn