A headline today at CBS News caught my eye:
Most people understand that America is polarized at the moment. My thinking is that Donald Trump’s rhetoric does not cause violence. Rather, it may teach Americans to grow a thicker skin.
In the first grade of elementary school, I learned many adages. That is, sayings that taught me morals. One of these is an adage that comes to mind frequently as I read the news of violence at Trump rallies:
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.
It seems that the polarization in America today is, in part, manifest in two camps, one of which understands and believes in the “sticks and stones” adage while the other does not. There are some who honestly believe that rhetoric “causes” violence. They believe that when there is violence in response to rhetoric, the person responsible for the rhetoric is responsible for the violence. I am of the other camp. I believe that if someone says something that you find offensive, your skin should be thick enough to prevent you from resorting to violence in response to that offensive remark.
There is no way that I can condone everything that Donald Trump says, but when he says things that I find offensive, my response is not to react with violence. It is to remember that adage from first grade: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.
In the meantime, it is clear to me that despite some troubling remarks and positions of Donald Trump, he is far better able to “make America great again” than Hillary Clinton would be. I have a few choice words that I could say about her. Do I refrain from saying them because Democrats may react violently? No, because people need to understand how dangerous a Clinton regime would be compared to Trump. I’ll save those remarks for another post.
The real danger is not so much in Trump’s rhetoric as it is in the thinking that violence is sometimes excusable. If you believe that violence is excusable based on words someone says, you need to rethink your values.