Editor’s Note

Words mean something

I’m not sure when it happened. I’m not sure when I turned into a middle-of-the-road political populist.

OK, chances of that occurring are probably low, but I've been thinking about the past a lot lately. I don't think in this Trump era that it's impossible not to step back into the past, just not that "make America great again" past. I was thinking about my post-Nixon childhood, my former U.S. Air Force mom taking me to an air base in the small Louisiana town we lived at the time to see President Gerald Ford. "Why are we going to see him. Isn't he a Republican?" I asked, thinking about what my mom's oldest sister might say if she found out. In the car ride on the way to the base, my mom explained our outing in several ways, explaining that the country had been through a difficult time during Nixon's impeachment and Ford was an important figure that needed all support. We were going to show that support, my single mother and her daughter. Oh, and my mom thought it was cool I'd get a chance to see Air Force One.

"How often does someone get a chance to see the president step off Air Force One and talk to the people?" she said.

So there we were, standing with hundreds of other people, my neck craning to get a glimpse of this guy, getting us through this divisive time. My mom brought a thermos of hot chocolate and a bag of sandwiches. I can't remember what Ford said that day. I don't remember thinking this was a crowd of Republicans or Democrats.

That time is gone forever. How did we get here? I'm also wondering when did we became a people in which words and truth don't really matter? Recently a Kentucky judge ruled against the president's attorneys allowing a lawsuit to be filed against Trump. The lawsuit accuses the then-candidate of inciting violence at a March 2016 campaign rally in Louisville when he said "get 'em out of here." Anti-Trump protestors were then shoved and punched by his supporters.

Turns out words matter to this judge, who says free speech does not protect language that incites violence. Trump's people constantly tell us that his words shouldn't be taken literally or his Tweets. Guess I'm stuck in the small pockets of my childhood. Words mattered. We measured people based on their character. What an odd predicament now for for that little girl craning her neck to see a president, learning it's OK to rise above political platitudes.

Stay focused. Consider strategy and the entire umbrella drinking hot chocolate.

— Mari Herreras, mari@tucsonlocalmedia.com

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