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Trumpisms and the power of words

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The art of communication and the attendant skills to create thoughts and word pictures that capture readers’ imagination seem to be a slowly diminishing art these days. We have slowly become a society that now depends on the visual transmission of both information and entertainment.

Television, movies and GameBoys have replaced the reading of novels, hardcopy newspapers and board games. Our imaginations have been replaced by hardcore reality right before our eyes.

Growing up in the small Missouri Ozark Current River town of Van Buren, my Baptist preacher family did not have a television. We did have an old upright radio. I spent many evenings sitting at the foot of this radio glued to the programs of “The Green Hornet” or “Sargent Preston of the Yukon.” My favorite was “Lassie!”

When it was time for the World Series, myself and two of my buddies would carry the old upright Motorola radio to the church basement to listen to the New York Yankees play the Brooklyn Dodgers. Yes, I am that old.

Mentioning the Yankees brings me to the central focus of what I wish to address as I proceed with these thoughts. Words are windows into the mind and soul of an individual. In these words, one can find both humor and often, tragic ignorance.

I was about 10 when I was taken to a game in Kansas City, Missouri between the Yankees and the Kansas City Athletics. Yogi Berri was catching and the great Mickey Mantle was in right field.

Yogi had a way with words: “When you arrive at a fork in the road, take it.” You can’t make such quotes up. This is how Yogi Berri expressed himself. He was once quoted as saying, “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”

One of my favorite Yogi quotes goes like this, “Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.” You’ve got to love the quotes of Yogi Berri.

Then there are the quotes of President Donald Trump who once remarked, “I know words. I have the best words.” Really! Let’s check out that assertion.

Following the tragic hurricane disaster that leveled much of Puerto Rico, Trump was quoted as saying, “This is an island surrounded by water, big water, ocean water.” What was his first clue? Imagine, an island surrounded by water!

This next Trump quote is one I could spend the rest of this column elaborating on but must resist such an urge. “I think I am actually humble. I think I’m much more humble than you would understand.”

Yes, Mr. President, and once you have left office we will all look forward to your book, “Humility and How I Attained It in 10 Easy Steps.” It’s certain to be a bestseller.

One of my favorite Trump campaign promises and quotes is: “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will have Mexico pay for it. Mark my word.”

Well, Mr. President, we have marked your word. What happened? As Sarah Palin might put it, “How’s this a-work ‘in out for ya, Mr. Trump?”

This Trump quote sends chills down this writer’s entire body. Why? Because I fear it is actually true. “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

It seems that no matter how many overt lies he tells, how often he defies the normalcies of the presidency, no matter how he continues to trample on the separation of powers of the three branches of our government or ignores the long-held respect for the U.S. Constitution, his devotees can see no wrong in him.

Words matter!

Edward “Ned” Walsh of Princeton is a retired Baptist denominational worker who served as executive director of Johnston County Habitat for Humanity from 2004-08.

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