Division APA policy on political speech

INFLAMMATORY RHETORIC BY A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE IS DANGEROUS

We, the undersigned mental health professionals and psychoanalysts, believe that inflammatory rhetoric on the part of any United States Presidential candidate is dangerous and
psychologically unhealthy to the group process of our country. Vitriolic incitement to aggressive action by a public figure is likely to stir up those in our gun-filled culture who
are angry and psychologically prone to acting out in horrible ways.

A candidate who does not discourage but encourages outbursts such as “Lock her up,” “Kill her,” “Hang her” at his public rallies, who states that he wishes to “punch out” someone,
who publicly refers to his opponent as “the devil”, who ridicules and bullies, who suggests that our President is Muslim and than states that the President and Hillary Clinton are “co-founders of
Isis” — and who then goes further by suggesting that “Second Amendment” people may be able to do something if Hillary Clinton wins the election, is creating an atmosphere than can lead all to easily to violence and assassination.

Individuals who are psychologically unstable in our society may be too easily moved by these types of assertions by a public figure. We know this not just as Americans who have
witnessed the assassination of Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy; not just as people who have witnessed the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in Israel; but
as mental health professionals who have studied group process and who treat those in our society who have difficulty controlling their aggression. Donald Trump’s demonizing
of Hillary Clinton and then continuing to inflame an already angry audience with false accusations are not the appropriate actions of anyone who wishes to lead this country.

We call on all Americans, regardless of party, to recognize the psychological dangers that Donald Trump’s rhetoric presently poses to the future of our nation.

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