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Letter: Trump's attacks on press are unacceptable

updated: 3/10/2017 12:27 PM

To the editor:

Referring to a group as "the enemy of the people" has a long history. It has routinely been used by dictators such as Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao Tse-tung to instill a nationalistic furor towards some common foe. The phrase was used as a way to dehumanize groups of people and make them expendable. It became so toxic and dangerous that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev demanded the end of the use of the term in 1956. Yet, even with that dark and dangerous history, President Trump recently tweeted and then later said in a speech at CPAC that many of the major news organizations in the U.S. are "the enemy of the American people!"
So now we have the President of the United States using historically provocative language. The use of such corrosive language is bad enough all on its own, regardless of whomever it is used against. However, he is directing this language at possibly the most important industry in a healthy representative government. The only industry given special protection under the Constitution: the press. The framers of the Constitution penned the First Amendment to prevent the government from silencing the press. They realized that in order to have a healthy and vibrant representative republic, the American people must be informed. It was an amazing admission of the importance of one particular industry to the success of this new government they were creating. But that was only part of what they did to guarantee that the American people had access to the information provided by the press. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 7 of the Constitution (Postal Clause) effectively created the Post Office and the roads needed to deliver the mail. This was an open attempt to try and guarantee that Americans had unimpeded access to the information provided by the press. Therefore, when the President attacks the press, he is attacking not only his perceived political enemies but he is also attacking the very foundation of the American governmental system. Certainly, the voters who supported Trump didn't intend for the very founding principles of America to be under such attack. We must make it clear to President Trump that such language is unacceptable and the continued use of such language is a valid reason for him to no longer be in office.

Anthony Stephens, Marion

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