In a country reeling from the uptick in violence such as school shootings, cop-killings, anti-semitic, anti-Christian and racist massacres, not to mention the daily news reports of random street and subway stabbings, slashings and shootings - the NYTimes chose to offer this as its front page article on the impeachment :
(2/2/20): “Ralph Waldo Emerson seemed to foresee the lesson of the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump. ‘When you strike at a king,’ Emerson said, ‘ you must kill him.” This advice, quoted by the Times Chief White House Correspondent Peter Baker sounds very similar to that issued by various Islamic religious leaders who have urged their followers to kills Jews anywhere they find them, using any implements at their disposal, particularly knives and large trucks Unfortunately, it resembles some of what Black Lives Matter urges on its followers with signs hailing “Kill the Pigs.”
The quote was originally a response to Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s request to Emerson to critique the paper he was writing about Plato for the course he was taking as a Harvard undergraduate Emerson, obviously concerned about the loose ends Holmes had left in the paper, gave the young student some strong metaphoric advice: Plato was the king and though Holmes had struck him, he had not successfully completed his arguments against him.
Seen in the newspaper which has blamed most of the divisiveness in our society on Trump’s “racist rhetoric,” this little known quote, completely out of context, can be seen as an inflammatory invitation to the deranged malcontents in a lawless and dangerous society, one which also increasingly has trouble parsing the meaning and intent of metaphor.
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