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Regardless of where you come down in the great debate over political civility, it’s clear that there will be, at least temporarily, increased awareness of, and sensitivity to, the use of violent metaphors.

So when you conflate your pro-coal rally to an armed conflict, it’s reasonable to expect that people are going to take notice.

Following a tip, Ken Ward Jr., a reporter for the Charleston Gazette, grabbed a screenshot of this banner from the Friends of Coal website promoting a “rally for coal” at the West Virginia state capitol:

Ward contacted Bill Raney, the president of the West Virginia Coal Association, who insisted the phrase “A CALL TO ARMS!” was just a “figure of speech,” and “there probably wasn’t that much thought put into it.”

After some thought was put into it, the banner was changed thusly:

Admittedly, “Alert! Alert! Alert!” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. But it shows it is possible to motivate people without sounding like you’re getting ready to invade Normandy.

(h/t Randy Francisco)

Ken Paulman

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.