Left wing comedienne, Kathy Griffin, has been in the news the past few days for posing for, and uploading a gory photograph to social media in which she holds up a severed and very bloody head of the United States president Donald Trump.
The condemnation has been swift and furious from both parts of the political divide, with leaders and followers alike calling her out, as they should. She has since come out and apologized but that has not done much to calm the uproar and condemnation.
Just the very fact that a public figure, be they a comedian, politician, actor, or anything feels comfortable enough to do something like this should worry every American.
The mistake most people are making with this is that they’re trying to dismiss it as part of the left wing versus right wing political matter of they did the same to Obama, so it’s okay to do it to Trump. Even at that, this is a step further than anything that was ever done to Obama, and by a prominent leftist celebrity to boot. It shows the gradual trend towards violence of American politics, even if it’s still verbal at this point.
Quite right, the right wing did a lot of the same to former president Barack Obama with both veiled and outright threats made to him. This tweet by former Congressman turned talk radio host, Joe Walsh, after the incident where three Dallas police officers were killed by a deranged black man was the last major threat Mr Obama received from a right wing celebrity before he left office.
Before then, there had been threats from other right wing celebrities, chief of who was Ted Nugent who has a long list of both veiled and open threats to Obama. The most notorious was this rant where he threatened to kill the then president, as well as Hillary Clinton. Of President Obama he said this,
The fact remains that none of the threats made to former President Obama went this far in imagery and shock factor. Yes, there were quite a few noose and lynching pictures, but none of such came from a high end Republican, and that’s the point of my disagreement with Ms Griffin’s photo.
I understand that both the left and the right are equally guilty of this, but what Ms Griffin did is akin to taking it a step further, and that’s what must stop. When celebrities do things like this, it might reinforce the beliefs of certain people who may not be mentally sound, and make them think violence against our political leaders is okay.
Celebrities doing things like this is helping bring these horrible ideas to the mainstream, and I think celebrities who do it should start being punished for it. I understand that the First Amendment guarantees all Americans freedom of speech, but we also outlaw hate speech, and speech like the ones described above are the ultimate in hate speech.
It is better we nip this cancer in the bud before it metastasizes, as I don’t think we would like the results if that becomes the case.
(News just broke that Ms Griffin has been fired from her CNN hosting job as I was finishing writing this piece)