Sunday, December 12, 2021

Bill Crawford: Pray the light of Christmas can dim mean rhetoric

 "Back in the old days we didn’t write so meanly to each other,” wrote Wyatt Emmerich, publisher of the Northside Sun and president of Emmerich Newspapers. He recently published letters between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr to make his point, noting how polite the letters were. Of course, the outcome was a duel in 1804 that cost Hamilton his life and Burr his reputation.

Still and all, “The founding fathers took great care to be careful in their choice of words to avoid any hint of insult,” Emmerich wrote. “I certainly don’t advocate bringing back dueling as an antidote to the foul language and insults so commonly bandied about on social media….But given this, maybe we should be a bit more careful about the words we use to express disagreement in thought with our fellow man.”

Few today would invite a duel. More likely they would just pull up and open fire. Yet, Emmerich’s words are timely with the Christmas season upon us. 

At the birth of Christ the heavenly host called for peace. In his ministry of peace, as Emmerich noted, Jesus condemned anger, saying in Matthew 5:22, “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”

Stern warnings that seem to have little impact today. Look at Congress and the way members talk and text about each other. Look at blog comments, if you have the stomach for it. Look at social media posts. And, regrettably, look at our former President’s tweets and one-liners.

Back in 2013 I wrote about an incident in Mississippi. Rep. Steve Holland sent a note to Gov. Phil Bryant that said, “I think you’re a fool to turn your back on the working poor.” My response was, “Holland’s intent may have been to lambast the Governor’s positions on Medicaid expansion and needs of the working poor, but his words attacked the Governor, not his positions." I noted the Governor was not a fool and took issue positions congruent with his record and campaign promises.  "We are free to disagree with his positions and call his Medicaid position foolish, but it is disingenuous and malicious to call the Governor a fool.”

Fortunately, few of our politicians resort to personal attacks. But, we are living in an era where discourse and honest debate on issues have yielded to deceit and personal acrimony. And, for too many that has become the pillar of their freedom, the freedom to publicly say anything they want no matter how untrue or hateful.

Thanks to Wyatt Emmerich for shining light on this issue.

The Prophet Isaiah saw a future where, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2). John the Baptist came to proclaim, “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world” (John 1:9). Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness” (John 8:12).

May this Christmas lead more into the light.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, well good luck with that.

Anonymous said... (Fauci Holiday)

Krusatyr said...

Emmerich has been pushing some hammer and sickle for awhile, particularly favoring government dependence over private opportunity for Mississippians who actually need cultural resurrection, not Emmerich's thin gray milk from suckling government teats.

Anonymous said...

Donald Trump re former President of Israel : “f#@k him.”

Anonymous said...

Alexander Hamilton had it. A lot of it, too.

Anonymous said...

We always see these pleas for civility when Democrats are in control. They want no one speaking I’ll of them. But remember the hate and venom spewed towards President Trump. I remember when David Hampton, managing editor of the CL called for civility when Obama was in office, yet a few weeks later cheered a nationally syndicated columnist who had died and even referenced her as a hero of sorts for calling GW Bush President “ Shrub”.

Anonymous said...

Every politician who raises one hand and whines for civility has, in the other hand, held behind his back, a Rapala fillet knife.

The days of bipartisan comradery are long gone.

Never trust nobody!

Anonymous said...

There’s a lot of hate in these comments. And a little bit of truth. But the authors point is valid.

Anonymous said...

I see all democrats as traitors to the Republic.
I also see most republicans as traitors to the Republic as well.

Anonymous said...

The harshness from the Right is in response to leftist ideology and its widespread support amongst the

democrat/college campus crowd. The Right and moderate democrats are getting pushed against a wall,

backed into a corner and they know where it leads because the leftist have told them where it leads. The

leftist should fast forward and see where it circles back to and they might relegate those thoughts to their

closets where bad ideas should be kept.

As nice a guy as Bill and his family are, I would like to see him use his intellect to put down the leftist

rebellion we see supported by democrats. Even acknowledging that the far left is a progression of

democrats would be interesting.

Anonymous said...

Holland was right that Phil was a damn fool to turn his back on the working poor. Trump of course did not, and Phil the opportunist then jumped on that bandwagon.

I suspect Holland was a closet Trump supporter (if not open-I don't know).

Also, way to take a shot at a retired politician with dementia.

Stay classy, Crawford.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure who the retired politician with dementia is; however, I know there are plenty of them currently seated who are afflicted with that illness.

Anonymous said...

Standing on on ledge just waiting to be pushed. That is us. Blaming the elected at this point is just skirting blame. WE THE PEOPLE did's only taken 200 years to get nice and ripe.

Anonymous said...

“The founding fathers took great care to be careful in their choice of words to avoid any hint of insult,”. For those wanting more I suggest Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton. Great read.

Anonymous said...

“The founding fathers took great care to be careful in their choice of words to avoid any hint of insult." = Every US historian ROFL.

Good one, Wyatt.

Did the Barksdales miss Wyatt in their literacy program?

NO, Wyatt, they did not. Read Adams, Hamilton, etc. etc.

Good Lord, have you been into KF's eggnog too much?

They took the UTMOST pains to flame their rivals and enemies, with exquisite precision, but they were too articulate and educated simply to use the common vulgarities of today's rabble. There is a huge difference.

Wyatt totally whiffed.

Anonymous said...

Excellent take.
They took great pride in their eloquent burns.

Anonymous said...

What fool among us will follow the advice and wisdom of Whyatt Emerich?

Alexander Hamilton's suede boots were half full of goat dung. He was essentially useless.

If you rail at the presence of 'harsh comments' and 'mean tweets', you qualify as a pussy.

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