Just the other day, while watching the news with the boss and vice boss (Mom and Dad, in that order), I overheard about how our governor apologized for an earlier statement he made.

When I heard what he said, I gasped in horror and anger.

Admittedly, I know very little as to who or what the Gestapo were, but I have enough Jewish friends and professors to know that word is a no-no.

Like any student reporter, and being curious, I looked up the meaning. To be fair and neutral, I cannot condemn Gov. Paul LePage’s usage of the word.

I do believe, however, that LePage is forgetting the all-too-important combination of words and public office.

While words have power all their own, the boosting effect of an authoritative public office such as the governor has is like a squirt of lemon juice added to a puff of air in the eye: A painful experience instead of what could have been a harmless annoyance.

When someone holds public office, words easily can become weapons.

Because of his office, LePage should be much more careful of what he says and how he says it. He can never say anything casually anymore.

One moment, words may be soothing and encouraging; the next, they damage anyone nearby.

This advice isn’t directed toward LePage exclusively. Now more than ever, all people need to hone their speaking skills and to train their tongues to drip with honey and slide like silk. The characters who usually end up on top are the ones who are the most skilled in cleverness with their minds and tongues.

Perhaps it would be best if LePage picked up a few pointers from the great Odysseus, the Black Widow, or Edmond Dantes?

Leah J. LaBree