Words Give Legitimacy

My father taught me a lesson a long time back. When I was old enough to vote I suggested to my father I might support one man even though he said some stupid things not because I thought he would do a good job, but because I really didn’t like his opponent. My father said that my vote and or support gave legitimacy to the words I found offensive. He said, “Voting against someone, is never a good reason to vote for his/her opponent.”

Now you may disagree with my father about voting, you may entered a voting booth wondering if you were voting for the lessor of two evils. But my father’s words about giving legitimacy by our support, vote, or repeating crazy or evil thoughts has stuck with me.

Our words are some of our most precious of commodities, and we must take care with them. I grew up in a part of the country where painful and hateful words were part of most everyone’s vocabulary. Experience taught me that to repeat them, no matter what my friends and family uttered, gave legitimacy to the language of hate.

I had my mouth washed out by soap on occasion growing up, and probable deserved it more often. When we are tempted to follow the crowd, remember not to give legitimacy to to the crowd’s direction unless you really mean and believe it.

About the author

Webb Hubbell is the former Associate Attorney General of The United States. His novels, When Men Betray, Ginger Snaps, A Game of Inches, The Eighteenth Green, and The East End are published by Beaufort Books and are available online or at your local bookstore. When Men Betray won one of the IndieFab awards for best novel in 2014. Ginger Snaps and The Eighteenth Green won the IPPY Awards Gold Medal for best suspense/thriller. His latest, “Light of Day” will be on the bookstands soon.

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