Readers React: Will Trump ever learn that his hateful, inciting words matter?
To the editor: Over the last year I have written letters and articles denouncing the president for his hateful, bullying and racist discourse.
This week, we learned that suspicious packages were sent to George Soros, former President Obama, the Clintons, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles). All are critics of President Trump and have been attacked by him in speeches and tweets.
To be clear: I do not believe that Trump directly caused these violent attacks. I also believe the White House was sincere when it immediately condemned what transpired. Nevertheless, we must admit that, when you have a leader demonizing people and groups, this increases substantially the likelihood that such rhetoric will breed more hatred and possibly even violence.
Words matter. Applauding an elected official for body slamming a member of the media, calling the press “the enemy of the people,” and allowing “lock her up” chants at rallies all have consequences.
It is time for Trump to be held accountable. Citizens should not vote for anyone who fails to rebuke — or has a record of failing to rebuke — the president.
Richard Cherwitz, Austin, Texas
The writer is a professor of rhetoric and communications at the University of Texas.
To the editor: History has an odd habit of repeating itself, and we have a bad habit of forgetting that fact. Most of us either remember World War II or have learned about it, yet we forget the simple fact that an entire country can be seduced by a charismatic individual with horrific results.
When we hear of bomb threats made against a free press, yet we are forcefully told that other victims of those threats are really the ones responsible for them, history is screaming for us to heed its warning.
We must not listen to or believe the madman today who seeks to seduce us.
Sheldon Willens, Los Angeles
To the editor: Trump said he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and not lose any support. He said that in the old days a heckler at one of his rallies would be carried out on a stretcher. He said he would pay the legal fees for someone who roughed up a protester. He praised, only a few days ago, Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Mt.) for body slamming a reporter who dared to ask him a question.
Now, the president says that “acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the U.S.” This doesn’t pass the smell test.
Bernard Rapkin, Los Angeles
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