This reflection is not about Obama. It’s about the power of words, particularly the word “evil.”
This morning, listening to the News, I heard a McCain supporter who had gone out to see Sarah Palin last night say that Obama is evil and that she is frightened of him. I bristled at the use of the word “evil” to characterize Obama (or Bush for that matter) because speading such a perception could be very dangerous. Words are powerful and form perception. It’s also interesting to note the difference in perception as to what is “evil” or, let’s just say “bad” for the country or world. Some think that hammering a young, unenlightened connection with an anti – American terrorist and the perception of socialism is evil, frightening or bad. Others think that going to war under false pretences, pandering to the wealthiest among us and an isolationist foreign policy is evil, frightening or bad.
No matter what our political affiliation or perception, I think it’s dangerous to use highly charged, emotional and dangerous words like “evil” to characterize a political opponant. No matter what I may think or feel about past Presidents and the choices they have made and the directions that they have taken us, I would not use the word “evil” to characterize them. I may well wonder how they can sleep at night, but I would not use such a dangerous word.
When I was growing up, my Mom use to tell us to be very careful about the words that we use, because words can hurt and cause more damage than physical violence. I think she’s right, . . . not only only on the personal level, but on the world stage as well. Whether it’s about the upcoming election, an issue at work or school, or a relationship difficulty, it’s probably better to step back and use our minds, rather than spouting emotionally charged words.
Perhaps out political campaigns would then take on a more civil and clear minded character, rather than throwing highly charged words around which serve to further polarize instead of bringing people together to form reasoned solutions.