'Chilling effect' is better than a 'numbing effect'

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Trump's temper-tantrum retaliatory measures are regularly referred to as decisions that "could have a chilling effect" on whoever he's really pissed at this week. It's a pretty big club and growing every day. 

Requirements include dedication to a free press and a fair democracy, a willingness to express your opinion, integrity, courage, a conscience, common-sense and, of course, that rare ability to tell the truth. Comprised mostly of media outlets and intelligence agencies, these institutions and their leadership are regularly beaten up on the playground for their lunch money. Or their security clearance. 

Every week there's a potential "chilling effect" being foisted on somebody. Are we at risk of overusing that term? Is it losing its impact? I understand the force behind use of the cold metaphor but maybe we could mix it up a bit with some new phrases to describe the effect of Trump's poor decisions:

Colder than a well-digger's ass in the Yukon, oldie but goodie 

Colder than a landlord's heart, a nostalgic favorite

Colder than the icy lake in Dante's Inferno ninth circle of hell in Dante's Inferno, so many possible parallels with this one 

Colder than a hunted witch's tit — see what I did there? 

Here's the lead that inspired me this morning from my NY Times daily briefing referencing Trump's punitive action toward former CIA director, John Brennan. "Law enforcement officials, lawmakers and members of the intelligence community said the president's retaliation against one of his critics [could have a chilling effect] on U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officers." If the mere thought of an impending "chilling effect" continues to shake you to your core, you can disregard all of this. If you're like me and prefer a little variety when it comes to threats to national security, give this a think. 

But whatever you do, never, ever let yourself go numb.

Cathy Kestler 

Oak Park 

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