It’s a “Top Priority”

Today I heard President Obama say that addressing “cyber security” was a top priority for him.

I heartily agree that cyber security is an issue of paramount importance and urgently needs to be addressed.  I will not disagree that it should be a priority.  But how many other top priorities does President Obama have?

Let’s see, there is the economy, the credit crisis, the auto industry, two wars, medical insurance reform, and I am sure a few more.

As I understand the word “top,” there can be only one.  So how can more than one thing be a top priority?  Can two things simultaneously be top?  What about seven?  By calling everything a top priority, that really means nothing is a top priority, but instead that there are multiple issues all vying for attention.  That seems like a recipe for accomplishing nothing of substance.

To me, labeling everything a top priority makes as much sense as claiming everyone at your school is above average.  It might sound good, but it is meaningless and accomplishes nothing — other than to impress people who believe everything they hear.