Rex Smith’s Opinion piece in the Jan. 12 Miami Herald, “Donald Trump can unite us around our American freedoms,” seems persuasive until its central flaw emerges.
Unlike Smith’s model, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s inspiring 1941 State of the Union Address — based on the four freedoms — of speech, of worship, from economic want and from fear) — Trump’s addresses, whether his formal declamations or innumerable tweets, depend on dangerous and infectious language.
As George Orwell argued decades ago in “Politics and the English Language,” political language and political freedoms are interdependent — decadence in one inevitably causes decadence in the other.
FDR and his advisers added many widely read, carefully reasoned clarifications of the need to guard those four freedoms.
Whatever credit we might give Trump “for speaking his mind without a filter,” as Smith puts it, his abuses of language, in tweets or otherwise, speak of political decay alarmingly dangerous to our freedoms.
Ronald Newman, Kendall