Thursday, September 10, 2009

Easy Use of the Personal Invective

Back on July 28th the Watchman wrote a blog on the intemperate charge "racism" and how such over use dilutes the terrible meaning of the word. The same needs to be said for calling people "liars". It wasn't effective against President Bush when used by the liberal left and I don't believe it should have been spoken of President Obama during last nights address on health care to a joint session of Congress. The comment came from Rep. Joe Wilson (R) South Carolina, who in his agitated state of emotion uttered the invective loud enough that all in the chamber could hear it.

No, that was not the way Americans should treat their president when in a public setting. Even if it is believed the President purposely was miss-stating or was being misleading on the issue of coverage of illegal aliens, conservatives and moderates need to remain in control of their emotions. In the book, Letter of Lincoln, it is clear President Lincoln was subject to daily doses of personal invectives against himself, his cabinet, his family, and closest friends. Yet, he remained a steadfast gentleman who spoke or wrote in such a graceful manner that many of his enemies were totally disarmed. He used humor and calm logic to dissuade his detractors, and only occasionally leaned on someone with his sharp wit and knack for a subtle put-down. Even then he frequently would later write or speak an apology to that individual.

The tendency today is to let loose with all kinds of personal invectives in an attempt to demean and derail the opportunity of real discussion. Its easy use of personal invectives that render their use meaningless when it might really count. Hyping up issues with words like liar and racist reduces their impact and tends to turn people off when heard too much. And doing so in an official settings such as in congress or in a court room is beyond the bounds of civility.

Congressman Wilson, immediately recognized his error, apologized, and the President accepted. That is a Biblical approach to resolving the issue. Now lets move on to discussion of the substance of these issues in a likewise civil manner. Then maybe we could get somewhere with resolving the impasse.

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