We are not made of stone

David Jones on how the ano­min­ity of so­cial me­dia makes peo­ple say hurt­ful things

Llanelli Star - - Letters -

THE old say­ing ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’ is quite a brave state­ment.

Af­ter all, we are hu­man and how­ever stoic we may ap­pear there are times when we would have to be made of stone if we aren’t af­fected by harsh and un­war­ranted crit­i­cism.

By to­day, it’s not so much sticks and stones but so­cial me­dia where, in anonymity, the net pro­vides a means of nas­ti­ness and threats for those who do not have the courage to ad­mit to their in­ten­tions.

Many politi­cians have to en­dure such in­sult­ing and hurt­ful vit­riol and this is wrong. In the sum­mer, a state­ment made by a po­lit­i­cal en­thu­si­ast that he would get up an hour ear­lier ev­ery day to have more time to hate Mar­garet Thatcher had the alarm bells ring­ing for me.

The whole Brexit de­bate has brought us to an al­to­gether lower level of po­lit­i­cal rhetoric when the Prime Min­ster was told to ‘bring a noose’ to a meet­ing with her fel­low Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans and that the ‘knives’ were out which would see her end.

Pres­i­dent Trump has added to this with his ar­ro­gant and of­ten per­sonal at­tacks on his op­po­nents. Fir­ing up crowds at re­cent midterm cam­paign ral­lies caus­ing deep con­cern for the fu­ture of po­lit­i­cal co­op­er­a­tion in the USA.

The Apos­tle Paul was of­ten harsh and un­mer­ci­ful in his words of con­dem­na­tion of the early Chris­tian be­liev­ers. Such was his ha­tred that he ap­prov­ingly stood over the ston­ing of Stephen the first Chris­tian Mar­tyr. He had been ad­vised by his su­pe­ri­ors to cool down but his sin­gle-minded de­ter­mi­na­tion to turn his words of ha­tred to deadly ac­tion was seem­ingly un­stop­pable.

How­ever, on the road to Da­m­as­cus, he was blinded by a great light. He met with Je­sus – what a change! He went on to speak of love be­ing pa­tient and kind, never haughty, self­ish or rude. Words which be­came the ba­sis of one of the great­est dec­la­ra­tions of democ­racy which we need to re-cap­ture in our day. ‘I may to­tally dis­ap­prove of what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it’ The Apos­tle Paul would have ap­proved!

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