Monday, November 14, 2016

Words have meaning

Words have meaning.

I learned that a long time ago.

Actually, you learn it early in this business. Or you get out.

It is my hope that President-elect Donald Trump learns that lesson as well.

Trump's scorched Earth campaign resonated with many Americans who felt they had been left behind.

But they also alienated others - minorities, Muslims, women.

Now, in the wake of his stunning Electoral College win, we're beginning to see the ugly side of some of that inflammatory Trump rhetoric.

Those with racist, hateful leanings clearly feel emboldened.

Schools across the country are dealing with a spike in racial harassment.

Immigrants are being harassed. Notes are being tucked into their bags urging them to leave the country.

One of the most hateful images on the planet, the swastika, is popping up again.

At a Bucks County high school, racial messages were scrawled on a bathroom wall.

At the University of Pennsylvania, black members of the freshman class were targeted with a racist message that suggested lynching blacks.

Ugly stuff.

At Villanova, a black female student claims she was accosted and knocked down by a group of white males chanting "Trump." All this is part of the fallout of the ugliest campaign in American history.

Trump's invective too often veered in this direction, lambasting Mexican immigrants as rapists, targeting Muslims for a ban on entry to the country, and his vulgar, vile comments concerning women.

He's no longer a candidate. He's the president-elect.

He needs to own his past rhetoric. And set a new path going forward.

He appeared ready to start that process in his interview with "60 Minutes" last night, saying he was saddened by some of the actions of those who supported him.

He stared into the camera, and issues a simple recommendation to those who would take part in such conduct: Stop it.

But he has to do more. He needs to admit his role in this, based on the type of campaign he ran and the comments he made.

That is one of the reasons why protests have sprung up in major cities across the nation since Tuesday, and show no sign of letting up.

People are scared.

They heard the words he uttered during the campaign.

And they see the actions of his supporters in the wake of Tuesday's vote.

Words have meaning.

Donald Trump is just starting to walk back some of the words he hurled during the campaign.

He no longer is a candidate. Hillary Clinton is not the enemy.

He is now the president-elect.

He needs to act - and speak - like it.

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