Words Matter (Nov. 7)


I was sitting in a pizza restaurant recently and spotted a handsome picture of Elvis Presley on the wall; the photo brought back memories of how much I liked him when I was a little girl. I had an Elvis Presley red wallet that folded in half and a few Presley forty-fives and then the rumor started to spread that Presley had said that the only thing that colored people could do for him was shine his shoes and buy his records. I asked my mother to throw the wallet away and I no longer spent time watching his movies. Presley later denied he made the comment.
Words matter and you can probably remember hurtful things that people have said to you for decades. Once those words escape your mouth it’s too late; apologies don’t matter and more often than not those apologies are not genuine. The apology is only given because someone has suggested that an apology should be issued.
Lately words have become so important. Since when have the Democratic Party been called “dems,” it sounds like dimwit or diminished, it has a negative ring to it. The words that have been used to describe immigrants and other countries are so negative. The words stick in your head for a long time. I truly believe the current president was catapulted into running due to words. Let’s go back to those White House Correspondents Dinners where Obama fried Trump in 2011 and 2016, I could see the writing on the wall that night, Trump was seething and was not going to let these “words” go unchecked.
Sometimes it can just be one word that can trigger an emotion or change the way you feel about someone. Recently someone that I know on a professional level referred to a friend of mine using the “B” word; they said it with a smile on their face and laugh in their voice. It has been two weeks since the comment was made but I can’t get the word out of my head. Did he think it was funny or somehow appropriate to use that language, what made him think it was acceptable?
Words matter. When Trump referred to himself as a nationalist while stumping for Senator Ted Cruz according to Business Insider, “You know they have a word, it sort of became old-fashioned, it’s called a nationalist,” Trump said. “And I say ‘really, we’re not supposed to use that word?’ Do you know what I am? I’m a nationalist.” The crowd inside the Toyota Center in Houston cheered wildly. His new nationalist title dominated the news for days and reportedly the person who committed the crimes at the Tree of Life synagogue paid attention to it as well.
Words are so far reaching now. Within minutes someone’s words can spread across the entire world and it only takes a point and a click to find them and hear them over and over again. Think about your words and how they will impact others. Once they are released there is no pulling back.
(Email Debbie at debbienorrell@aol.com.)
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