• 61°

Guest Column By Ray Mosby

Ray Mosby

Combustible power of words underestimated by purveyors of fear

“These violent delights have violent ends.”
                                             –  Shakespeare.

ROLLING FORK – My little newspaper in our little neck of the woods isn’t the needed venue for this, but somebody better say it and people need to hear it because there is something nasty in the air and it can turn mighty toxic without any additional warning.

From our beginnings, all the way back to the “give me liberty or give me death,” days, we Americans have been a passionate people and have always been a people inspired – for the good and not so – by the spoken and written word. Read what is being written. Listen to what is being said. I?see a bad moon a’risin’.

There is in this country, at all times, a pilot light of violence, just sitting there, flickering, hungrily awaiting the next injection of fuel to once again make it burn bright. And it is being fed today by its favorite fuel, the easily combustible power of words.

Some of it is ignorance; some of it is carefully calculated ambition; some of it is long refined hate, but we are playing with fire right now and it is a fire with which we as a nation have been burned before.

Seemingly every day now, the fear mongering ratchets up another notch: Obama is a socialist; Obama is a Nazi. I wish people would at least settle on one pejorative, for while the president of the United States is neither, fact is, no man can be both at the same time – the two philosophies are diametrically opposed and reside at the respective left and right ends of the political spectrum.

I don’t know what some folks need most, a lesson in political science or a lesson in manners.

There is talk of “death panel,” although there isn’t and never has been any such thing. It it just another ratchet up, just another reason to be scared.

Before that, remember, Obama was a muslim, a secret acolyte of Islamic fundamentalism, an American president, who should he be elected such, would take his oath of office on the Koran. You knew that had to be true, after all, his middle name was Hussein.

There there was the “birther” business, the from day one nutty notion that the 44th president of the United States was an illegitimate one because he was born not in this country, as the Constitution requires, but rather in Kenya. Forget that the man’s birth certificate is posted on a half-dozen web sites. Forget that every single relevant office holder in the state of Hawaii has stated publicly or signed documents attesting to the fact that he was born in that state. Those damn liberals may have elected him the president, but see, he isn’t REALLY the president.

He wants to take away your guns. He wants to take away your doctor. He wants to keep your grandmother from having an operation but encourage her to commit suicide. He wants to take all your money and give it to HIS?people. After all, he is black, and you know what that means… (insert favored stereotype here, the more sinister, the better).

Be afraid. Be afraid.

One of these days people are going to come to believe me when I?tell them there is power in words. Words are the atoms at the nucleus of language which is the single most critical molecule of all human communication. And like the atom, the word can be a weapon of almost endless power.

I know words. I make my living with them. And right now the words of hate are being spoken in a code that intended or not, serves to incite and appeal to the fears at the heart of the worst that lies beneath the best of the decency within us all.

By now we should need no reminding that there are some nuts in this country of ours. Some of them have shown up at congressional town halls, bellowing ever increasing invectives, like half the crowd at a Saturday night wrestling match. Some of them have shown up at presidential events wearing sidearms and carrying semi-automatic weapons. Some of them just brood in their basements, perhaps playing with a little ammonium nitrate.

And all the nuts are being salted every day by the code words of fringe politicians and the guy in the next booth at the diner and the Limbaughs and Becks and O’Reillys of the world.

The pilot light’s flame has grown bigger and if we don’t turn it back down, something’s going to blow up.

We’ll regret it, to be sure, but won’t some of us have also enabled it?

(Editor’s note: Ray Mosby publishes the Deer Creek Pilot, where his column, Different Drummer, appears weekly.)