Words, slogans too dangerous in America?

There is ongoing hyperventilating in some quarters about Russian interference in the 2016 election. We do not believe the Russians should be meddling in U.S. affairs in this way, but we also do not see the apocalypse in this matter, as others apparently do.

We are not among those cowering in a corner because Russian operatives made (or continue to make) online posts or tweets, or bought online ads, meant to sway voters or sow division. The Russians’ weapon is mere words, right? People can weigh these words against their own knowledge, experience and a vast panoply of other sources of information, online or elsewhere.

Of course, arrogant know-it-alls on the left will tell you that while discerning people like themselves can figure all of this out, their neighbors (especially those stupid, deplorable Trump voters) are all too susceptible to the Russian marketing strategy. Another reason, presumably, that Americans need the left to hold their hands to get through life. Thank goodness they are here for us.

Along these same lines, until recently Minnesota was telling voters going to the polls that they could not wear anything with a political message on it. Words, again, were seen as just too dangerous.

The Supreme Court said Minnesota went too far in its restrictions, and so there is activity here and elsewhere to ensure free speech remains a sacred value. A bill introduced in South Dakota, for example, would allow residents there to wear political clothing and buttons while voting. With the sensible caveat that they cannot interfere with others’ right to cast ballots.

Words, certainly, can persuade. A slogan can spark an emotion. An ad can create more interest. None of it, though, turns people into programmed robots.

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