“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!”
As an overweight child growing up, I learned all of these little turns of phrase to attempt to deflect the insults that young children would hurl my way because of my size.
“I’m rubber, and you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off me, and it sticks to you!”
These things are supposed to protect, but in many cases, all they do is put up a front, a front that hides true hurt that doesn’t get dealt with properly because someone, somewhere told that person that they need to hide his/her true feelings when someone says words that do hurt.
Perhaps that’s why so many seem to feel that impactful words can be tossed around with no consequence for their action.
For multiple years before he ran and for the four years of his presidency, Donald Trump tossed out many words that were incredibly dangerous. Words that put down entire races or demographics of people, words that incite hatred or distrust in other people, words that produce distrust and even hatred of the very government he came to represent, and, most impactful directly to me and to those I call colleagues and friends, sowing distrust and disrespect of the media.
The terrible acts of Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capital put many in danger.
Some of those were people I’ve come to call friends online over the years, who happened to be assigned to the Capital building that day to simply do their job in the press.
Insurrectionists KNEW which rooms journalists had been moved to, as multiple journalists report attempts to break into the rooms they had been evacuated to, while the same is not being reported by those in rooms where journalists were not evacuated.
Horrific words, not fit for print, were hurled at reporters who were trapped in rooms as those who stormed the Capital attempted to enter the rooms where they were huddled for safety. THEY were called traitors of the nation by the very people who had broken in to disrupt the business of the Congress.
A number, including South Dakota’s own representation, are asking what message a second impeachment of President Trump sends to the nation right now.
It sends the message that words have meaning…and consequences.
It tells my beautiful daughter, who was teased at school for her Native and Latin background giving her a complexion and features that don’t fit any other particular group at the school, that the President’s words were not okay.
When she pressed the little boy teasing her, he said he could say that because the President says it, too.
It won’t remove Trump from office. In fact, the Senate likely won’t hear their side of things until after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office next week.
However, regardless of whether the Senate chooses to remove him from the office by a two-thirds majority, which would remove a few perks of post-presidential life for Trump, but none that really he couldn’t afford to replace, there is more beyond this.
The Senate, by a simple majority vote, could vote to disqualify Trump from running for the presidency again now that this impeachment has taken place. This would likely require a conviction to push through on top of the articles of impeachment that were passed through the House Wednesday.
However, if this is held off until after Biden is sworn in along with the new Democrat majority in both houses of Congress, a disqualification may very well be coming.
Words do have meaning, and the state’s own governor has also been flippant with incendiary words recently (though I’m not sure she truly knows what a communist actually is if she’s describing either newly-elected Georgia Senator as one, but that’s a whole other column).
It’s time to stop pretending we’re rubber.
Words can hurt. They should have consequences.
Even if you’re in the highest position in the country.