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Rhetoric can lead to increased violence

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Patrick J. Kennedy, son of the longtime Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy and nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, stated he grew up in a home that had a bulletproof vest in every closest. 

Democracy is fragile. With inflammatory rhetoric, it can rapidly disintegrate into violence. 

In two-thirds of the world, the people who decide who has the power are the people who have the most money and most guns. This is not how human beings need to be. 

We can choose to honor our immigrant community and stop calling them illegal aliens. We can remind ourselves that most of us have "alien" roots and that diversity builds strength to make our country "great." We must never dehumanize minorities or women.

To keep our system of democracy from becoming corrupted, each member has a responsibility. It takes responsibility learned at home and in school by the time most of our people are adults to understand we can have opposite views and still be friends. 

We must not succumb to base instincts that polarize people into "us" and "them." Unfortunately, we have seen that this is the easy default mode for our politicians to take, whereby, if persisted over a period of time, the U.S. will lose the long-held belief and demonstration of being the standard bearers of the world.

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