Words Do Have Meaning

Word is defined as "a speech sound or series of speech sounds that symbolizes and communicates a meaning usually without being divisible into smaller units capable of independent use" by Webster's Dictionary. It's a dry definition, but it's a definition and a place to start from, really. We use words to communicate our thoughts, beliefs, and ideas to others. (Well duh... thank you for those profound "words" Captain Obvious) Renowned author, Stephen King is quoted in his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft as saying "What is writing? Writing is telepathy." If writing is telepathy, the sharing of the written word, then speaking is even more so because it is a direct transference of ideas from one person to another rather than an indirect transference via a separate medium. There you have it. Words have power, the power to transfer the ideas that shape our worldview from one person to another. (Kinda deep huh?)

Why is this important? We keep hearing certain phrases from certain individuals like, "Just words..," "I said that jokingly...," "I didn't say that," (but I tweeted it) and perhaps the most infamous phrase recently, "It was just 'locker-room talk." We instinctively distil one's mindset, their worldview, from the words they use in conversation, whether that conversation is public or private-especially words from someone applying for the job of leading a nation. How can we not infer that someone's words, words chosen and communicated in a supposedly private setting, actually reflect the world view of someone like Mr. Trump. What does this worldview look like?

It appears to me that Mr. Trump's worldview is shaped by power, power over others around him, especially those he sees as inferior--namely women. Women appear to be objects, something to be ogled, groped (grabbed), and/or otherwise used for his personal entertainment. To quote some of these private words:

“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”

“And when you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”

We hear things like this, followed by more words:  “I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.” But he also called the revelation “a distraction from the issues we are facing today.” A distraction? When we, as a nation, are considering placing a person with this kind of disregard for a very large subset of our population in a position of power, these words are more than just a distraction. They are a reflection of the worldview, a reflection of his general disregard for that subset of our population. When Mr. Trump uses phrases casually, yet purposefully, like "Radical Islamic Terrorism," instead of just calling it terrorism, or says things like "We have some bad hombres..." to promote his stance of isolationism, he is using these words to drive a wedge of fear between Americans and the rest of the world. How can we not pay attention to this? I see some of my friends and acquaintances glossing over these words with the attitude of He's just speaking his mind, and I love it that he speaks his mind. He says the things others won't.  Do we really want to hear what these 'others' are saying if this is the content of their words as well? Do we want to hear about their racist, xenophobic worldviews? Do we want to hear about their disregard for women? Do we want to create a culture in America of belittling others simply because we can? Simply because we see ourselves as being above or better than someone else because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or belief structure?

Our nation was founded on the principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence, which I will quote here:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

Do we simply ignore the founding principles of our country because we are afraid of those who are not like "us?" Do we embrace the idea's of this dangerous and divisive individual in an attempt to feel safe because of his, and the media's, fear-mongering? Do we embrace the ideology of hate and fear?

I will leave you with a quote from a very old, very wise, fictional character..."Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." We may not be Jedi, but I think it might be wise for us to consider the truth of this statement, lest we start down that dark path, and it forever dominates our destiny.