Sunday Letters: ‘Law and order’ is an ugly dog whistle

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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during the first Presidential Debate at Hofstra University on Monday. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In the first presidential debate, Donald Trump repeated the provocative phrase “law and order” so many times that I lost count. During the vice presidential debate, Mike Pence also spouted this disreputable slogan.

Apparently neither man knows that this phrase is code (these days some people call it a “dog whistle”) from the era of the struggle of African-Americans to achieve equal rights in the 1950s and 1960s. At that time, opportunistic politicians used this slogan to appeal to racist whites and to oppose the principles of racial equality that today we take for granted.

I will give both men the benefit of the doubt and say that, even though they lived through those trying times, I hope that they are not aware of the hidden meaning of the expression. I urge them and their supporters to find a less inflammatory way to express their desire for a more calm and harmonious society.

Steven Stine, Highland Park

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Ald. Brendan Reilly has a legitimate complaint in his criticism of Donald Trump’s description of Chicago as a “decimated war-torn country.” If Chicago is “war-torn,” what does that say about the 25 cities — none of them Chicago — on an FBI list of the “most dangerous” cities? Of course, none of these accusations about Chicago should come as a surprise since Trump has yet to tell the truth about anything, much less about the city that our first African-American president calls home, since he became the Republican nominee for president.

John Schow, Gold Coast

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