Dear politicians: talk like crazy people are listening to you. Because they are. We're a big country, with hundreds of millions of people and no guaranteed health care. That means there are a lot of Americans who are mentally ill, and a lot of those people can't get proper treatment. Every time you speak in public, remember that there are some disturbed people who will take what you say, whatever you say, seriously, and that they might act on it.
We've been having a lot of public debates about "responsibility," 'unity," "civility," and other complicated, nuanced words that are easy to twist around to mean different things. So I'm going to keep it simple. Every public figure speaking in public has got to remember that some crazy people are listening. Don't say anything that those people will understand as a call to violence.
But won't mentally ill people misunderstand things, and hear calls to violence that weren't intended that way? Yes. Exactly. They may well hear you calling for blood when you thought you were carefully staying on the right side of the line. That's why you should get nowhere near the line, at all, ever.
This rule is not hard. Don't act like it's not simple.
There are troubled people watching TV and listening to the radio and reading the internet all day, and they have trouble sorting out what's real. Don't scare those people into using bombs or guns.
But what if the talk-like-crazy-people-are-listening rule cramps my style? What if it takes away my big rally lines that excite the crowd, or the new spike in my ratings? What then?
Then you're risking people's lives for personal gain. What good do you think is going to come of that?
cross-posted from Dagblog; all comments welcome there, rather than here
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