Author Impeachment

I’ve been obsessed with the news around impeachment. Every night, while I either write or go on Facebook, I am also listening to CNN through my AT&T Watch app. I got to thinking. What if writers could be impeached for abusing their power?

impeach

I know, I know. A ridiculous thought, because you’re probably challenging me on the notion that writers have any power at all. But I think we do. All writers, including journalists, wield the power of the pen. On numerous occasions, this has had a profound impact.

mighty pen

Let’s suppose for a moment we go back to politics and look at one of the most influential documents written. Yup, I’m talking about the Constitution. Don’t you think that for over two hundred years the authors that wrote the Constitution had tremendous power? The Constitution is the foundation of our democracy (or so everyone claims).

consitution

Now, how about a scary example. Has anyone ever considered the impact of Mein Kampf written by Adolf Hitler? Could the publishing of this book be considered an abuse of power? An impeachable offense?

abuse power

You see, I think written words, much like words recorded in the visual media age, are powerful because they remain for generations to come. Before the visual media, the biggest problem society had was recording those words inaccurately. Thus, we come to another example of the power of the written word. The authors of the Bible claim to have recorded the words of Jesus. Although there is debate regarding the number of years between his death and the New Testament, many years did pass. So, I ask how accurate is the Bible? Our memories are notoriously inaccurate. I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday morning or if I even had breakfast! Imagine trying to remember someone’s words 15-300 years later?

mightypen2

How exactly does one impeach an author? Or would we more accurately label an author’s word, reckless abuse of rhetoric? What would be considered an abuse of power? If history has taught us nothing, it is that hindsight is better than foresight. In that respect politics and writing share similar principles. Mein Kampf was a best seller in Germany after Hitler’s rise to power? Even if we were able to impeach an author for reckless abuse rhetoric, we might not likely come to that conclusion in enough time to stop the madness. Think about that for a second. Perhaps there is an analogy here that is happening right now. Often, we don’t act quick enough to stop the damage.

word matter

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in free speech, freedom of the press, not burning books, etc, but maybe there should be a method of impeaching an author or their work if that work is dangerous. Yet who would be the judge and jury? Certainly not the readers (remember the popularity of Mein Kampf). Perhaps the answer is to fight fire with fire or to use that very same power of the pen. As I’ve said on numerous occasions, words matter. Write on my fellow authors, and use, not abuse, the power you have!

words1

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2 thoughts on “Author Impeachment

  1. America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say: You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free?Then the symbol of your country can’t just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the land of the free,”

    From the movie. “An American President”

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