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Lately, our public discourse falls short. Legal language is given short shrift as being politically correct. Folks say, “He talks like us,” “He’s not a politician,” or he is just saying “what is in our mind.” In short, words don’t matter.

Words do matter. The mere words of a Pontiac patrol officer can set me back grocery money if he tells the judge I was speeding on Route 23. The words of a prosecutor and language of the law can send someone to prison for life. The difference between self-defense and murder is based on language or words. A classic hypothetical depicting poor signage is “No vehicles in the park.” What do you think would happen if a lawyer told a judge, “Up your nose with a rubber hose,” rather than civilly saying “Objection, your honor?”

It’s time to once again respect those 7,579 words that order our daily lives, the U.S. Constitution.

Lawrence Necheles, Pontiac

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