MARLBORO MUSINGS:  Words Are Important; Make Them Matter

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Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!”

Bull.

That little expression we all learned as kids ranks right up there with “The check’s in the mail,” “I won’t laugh…I promise,” and “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help” as one of the biggest lies told by man.

Words sure do hurt, sometimes much worse than sticks or stones ever could. And the worse part is how they can be so soft and considerate, so kind and caring and comforting.

How many times has just the right word at the right moment calmed the storms in your soul? How many nights have you yearned to hear just one more time that special word or phrase from someone you know you’ll never get to hear again?

Yeah, words matter.

But all too often – such as seems to be the case now, when we we appear bound and determined to self-implode into a second American conflict, words can become venom-tipped daggers with the long-term consequences required to start the tear that literally rips apart our very social fabric.

And it seems it wouldn’t take much.

What I’ve seen on display over the past few weeks has both astounded and saddened me. If it wasn’t an angry and ugly street protest it was a politically charged award show, straight out of Hollyweird.

You’ve gotta love that left coast crowd. It was so thoughtful of them to take time to venture out from behind their gated extravagant estates, private guards and entourages in tow, to preen, prance, and preach permissiveness to the peasants and peons, to share their social wisdom with us while patting each other on the back of their Gucci gowns and designer dresses for a few hours, before either joining with others of their ilk at post-award parties, retreating to the safety of their secured million-dollar villas, or hitting VIP sections of LA hot-spots or high-end gentlemen’s clubs where they drank $1,000 bottles of champagne and made it rain. You know, like the common man and woman.

And they dare to claim to speak for me? Give me a break.

Speaking of breaks, it almost breaks my heart to see what this what my country has devolved into. There’ve been a couple of times I’ve just had to turn the TV off and walk outside to sit and let nature flush the poisons from my mind. Especially during and after some of the protests. My goodness. When did we get so mean-spirited? And so extremely foul-mouthed? And in public?

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big believer in the right to assemble and of free speech, but some of the language that was displayed and used during some of these recent protests – loudly and proudly, repeatedly, in front of children, no less – I found to be at best offensive and tasteless, and personally vulgar and embarrassing.

I just remember getting in pretty serious trouble with my mom as a youngun for calling my sister a “fool” once. Heck, when I grew up they wouldn’t even show Barbara Eden’s belly button on “I Dream of Jennie.” Now, instead of enjoying a bowl of Saturday morning cereal and Pink Panther cartoons, kids were watching parades of folks wearing pink pussy hats and vagina costumes while an old washed-up hag of a rock star and has-been/ never-really-was actress shouted at them about blowing up the White House and being a naaaaasssstttty woman.

I can’t imagine what these kids will be like when they hit their teens after a few years of having tofu-scented F-bombs and other slurs, and maybe a Molotov cocktail or two and God knows what else, being hurled across their little pink-capped heads. Probably because I’m not really ready to envision that future just yet.

But like they say, “Little taters do have big ears,” and kids are like sponges just soaking it all in. And what goes round comes round. These parents are gonna have their hands full in a few years…and we’re all gonna have an interesting decade or two ahead of us. I’m really just starting to grow happier by the day that I’m reaching old age and won’t have to deal with this generation, at least not for very long anyway.

However, as distressing as the language and the casual slinging of harmful and divisive words such as “racist” {https://mobile.twitter.com/foxnews/status/829488537640722432} and “misogynist” and “Islamaphobe” and all the other hateful terms, and their dangerous social ramifications are, perhaps just as disheartening is the lack of personal historical knowledge that allows people to be led – or better put, misled – into making allegations or assertions, or even holding beliefs and further advocating the fantasies and fallacies of others that really should be immediately dismissed because they either have absolutely no historical relevance, are based on the total misuse of a term, or represent the outright unfair comparison of one person to another.

In short, someone just saying something doesn’t make it so. And it’s up to you to know better.

For example, many signs during the protests have depicted President Trump as being the next Hitler – a pretty charged and provocative word in and of itself, and several of his early actions and comments have been described by his detractors as being “Hitlerian,” in an obvious, and, sadly, somewhat successful effort by those with the stated goal of delegitimizing his presidency and painting the new president in as evil a light as possible.

But those with the knowledge or time to look past the fear mongering and review history quickly recognize that Trump’s ascent to political power and occupation of the presidency bears absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to Hitler and the rise of the Third Reich, and that to even make such a comparison would require the imagination of Walt Disney on three-way windowpane blotter acid.

Foremost, Germany at the time of Hitler’s ascension was a relatively small and weakened, near-failing, post-World War I defeated nation, without a separation of governmental powers or a means of checks and balances, and was, in fact, seeking a national savior, which provided Hitler the opening to make his play for power. Additionally, from the very onset of his political career Hitler and those loyal to him were incredibly violent, and once he assumed office the loyalty of his own personal SS troops allowed for the unopposed incarceration or even murder of private citizens and political opponents to take place basically at his whim. Likewise, Hitler’s first moves against Germany’s general populace were designed not to eliminate specific ethnic groups, but were first targeted toward individuals with special needs in a sociopathic attempt to better care-giver’s lives and improve overall German society, and efforts to disarm Germany’s citizenry preceded nationalized healthcare and education.

Nothing like anything of that sort has ever, or could ever, happen unchallenged here. It’s almost laughable to even assert such. Simply put, America cannot produce a Hitler. Citizens would rise up in armed resistance. That’s exactly the scenario our forefathers wrote the second amendment to address.

The truth is, as bad as Trump may seem in your opinion, he’s not Hitler. He’s not even close. By a long shot. A really long shot.

But it’s also easy to understand the apprehension and anger in our nation right now. Especially when some of our leaders keep our citizenry stirred up about issues such as rigged elections, excessive executive orders and a dictatorial executive approach to governing, allegations of attempts to manipulate media coverage, and even the possible suspension of constitutional rights.

My goodness, if he’s up to all that, if all of that has been going on — and probably worse they insinuate, right under our noses, as we keep having shouted to us from assorted media outlets and elected officials, why Trump must be evil personified, right? The devil incarnate. Beelzebub in the flesh. The Prince of Darkness. Something has to be wrong? Right?

Well, maybe.

Or, maybe not, because none of those actions can actually be legitimately attributed to Donald J. Trump – he’s not been found guilty of any of those misdeeds. But another occupant of the Oval Office has been, in some manner or another, and that someone is none other than Abraham Lincoln, who many regard as justifiably perhaps America’s most beloved president.

Yep, that Lincoln, freer of slaves and saver of Unions.

In the course of trying to win the Civil War and save the Nation, Lincoln suspended habeus corpus and jailed political opponents without due process, regularly broke constitutional law, rigged the 1864 general election by unlawfully annexing Nevada in order to ensure his re-election, was responsible for the death of more than 600,000 men, and, as the war neared its end, sent General William Sherman on his infamous “March to the Sea”, his troops looting, pillaging, and burning their way vindictively thru the Deep South.

Given these executive abuses, it seems certain that many Southerners of the time, including John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassin – as well as many disenchanted negatively-impacted Northerners, would have felt him to have been the Hitler of his time.

The moral of this is that context is important. When and why you do what you do or say is just as important as what you do or say. It’s why you have to know what you believe, and why you believe it. It’s intellectually unfair to all – especially yourself – to do less. Someone very important might be listening; teach them truth. And kindness. And that words do matter.

The difference between the good guys and the bad guys is frequently in the eyes of the beholder. And sometimes they often look very much alike in the confusion of conflict. But we must remember that there are people who awaken every morning with the stated goal to kill Americans, to rid the globe of infidels. And they want to do it here.

It’s up to our leaders to stop the attacks we all know are coming. And just as was the case with Lincoln, sometimes drastic times call for drastic measures, such as Trump’s embattled proposed immigration restrictions and the extreme vetting programs.

Some may think Trump is acting like a dictator, but if you ask me the ones acting like Hitler are the ones creating the refugees. Trump is just trying to protect as many Americans as he can, as quickly as he can. That’s his job.

This is a mean and harsh world, and homeland security is paramount. You don’t get do-overs on terrorist attacks. And when the stakes are this high, just as in Lincoln’s time, the end justifies the temporary means.

Some chances you just don’t take. The words “I’m sorry” mean far too little little to dead people and grieving families.

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