Letter to the Editor

Words have consequences

Monday, January 17, 2011

To the Editor:

In response to the abundant sidestepping by our lawmakers regarding the hateful, bigoted and inaccurate speech used when referring to all opposing political opinions and parties, I must ask how they can argue that the language they use towards their opponents has no influence on individuals and rids them (the politician) of any responsibility in the recent violence in Arizona.

Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the numerous victims in her company on Jan. 8, have paid the price for the abusive language that frequents our televisions, radios and newspapers.

Her attacker, Jared Loughner, was driven by the hate-filled angry words he read and heard.

Aside from reading books, which used the belief that the government is an evil entity controlling every facet of our lives as a theme, he also lived in a district dubbed the, "Mecca of prejudice and bigotry," by Clarence Dupnik, the county's residing Sheriff.

It is absurd for our politicians to claim that Jared was a "nut job," who was acting alone uninfluenced by media.

The same parties who supposedly run on a foundation of Christianity are arguing that there are no negative ramifications from the revolving use of these statements: "Death panels" (healthcare reform), "Not born in America," "President Obama's birthplace," "Don't retreat, reload," (Palin); the use of a riflescope crosshairs over political opponent's districts (Palin); the shooting of the Cap-and-Trade bill with a high-powered rifle (Gov. Manchin).

Words have consequences.

I agree that Loughner is a "nut job," and that he is psychologically unstable. However, we have to accept that mentally unstable individuals are a part of our society and are more likely to be influenced by this caustic rhetoric.

Politicians cannot continually propagate hatred and anger and label their opponents as evil. It is unfair, inhumane, untrue and is not worth the loss of life.

We censure games, books and movies to the benefit of our children. We do our best to teach our children reconciliation and remediation in resolving conflict.

Instead of claiming that their words have no implications on others, our political leaders should take a long and hard look at not only what they are saying, but how it is interpreted by all who hear.

Words have consequences.

Paul Harbour,

Clay City