Love or hate, take the high ground
Here is where we are in these United States:
Some dimwits in Danville think it’s perfectly fine to destroy American flags and really, really neat to do it around Memorial Day. Clearly, their parents are proud of them, particularly Dad, who either avoided military service, isn’t proud of his service or doesn’t know that his darlings are destroying the symbol of the country he either did or didn’t serve. Fantastic.
Then we have the “comedian” Kathy Griffin, who thinks its fuuuu-uuuuu-ny to hold up a likeness of the head of President Trump covered in fake blood. As my late, lamented grandmother would have said, “Are ya laughing?” Well, no.
Oh, and let’s not forget some racist idiot writing the “N” word on the gate leading to the California home of basketball player LeBron James. Clever, eh? My assumption is it’s one of the few words he can spell accurately.
What’s wrong with us? What makes people think it’s cool to destroy American flags? No, no, don’t get on me: I absolutely agree that the burning of a flag is protected free speech. I wouldn’t do it, but I understand the symbolism when it’s done in public and sans anonymity. But ripping up or cutting up flags in a little New Hampshire town anonymously and probably in the dark isn’t speech, it’s just vandalism.
And why would even a C List comedian (actually, from what I can tell, they’re all C List these days, at least the stand-up putzos) think it’s fuuuu-uuuu-ny to show the severed head of the president? Imagine, if you will, the reaction had Sean Hannity (who I think is a pandering toad) held up the severed head of Barack Obama.
Now, I know the argument here: Well, some former rock star once told President Obama – not to his face, of course – to insert the barrel of his gun into his mouth, and that sad excuse for a vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, once said Obama and other Democrats were in her “crosshairs.”
But so what? Here we go again: Well, they did it, why can’t Kathy Griffin? It’s the same thing, ya know.
Right. An eye for an eye, tit for tat. Stupid.
Here’s what is bothering me at this minute, and perhaps it will have changed by the time you read this: Where is the liberal condemnation of Griffin? I was in Hampshire Hills the other day watching some Fox News show from the stairstepper and it featured a debate, of sorts, between someone I’ve never heard of and some “comedian” I’ve never heard of, and the former was condemning outright what Griffin did, and that’s fine, but the latter was trying to sort of justify it via the First Amendment. And he was right, sort of: Of course it’s protected speech, of course it was her “right” to do it.
But just because you have the “right” to do something doesn’t mean it’s right. That it was stupid goes without saying, and it cost Griffin her job co-hosting CNN’s Times Square New Year’s Eve special, but I’ll bet you that if Leonard Bernstein were still with us, he’d invite her over for dinner with his many pals. (See Tom Wolfe’s “Radical Chic & Mau Mauing the Flak Catchers,” and don’t get on me for “Mau Mau,” it’s the title of the book just as … no, I’m not going to mention the name of Dick Gregory’s autobiography, but he had a point with that name. Look it up and check out his note to readers re: his mom.)
I am convinced that we will never have civility in this country unless we liberals stop applauding things that don’t deserve applause, like Griffin’s idiocy, Colbert’s reference to Trump-Putin and anything else of its ilk. Every time something like the Griffin thingy happens, it gives ammunition to the very people who think that liberals have no respect for anything.
I don’t like President Trump. I don’t think he has a clue about how to govern, I don’t think he listens to anyone and I don’t care what Sean Spicer tries to spin, “covfefe” is not an acronym. He is an embarrassment to the office of the president, and had any reasonable candidate run against him – Joe Biden, for instance – he’d be home, somewhere, complaining that Biden had stolen the election by paying Icelandic hackers to rig the voting process.
But too many anti-Trump people are taking the low road, and all that does is solidify his base, the very people he is about to harm the most with his budget and his attempts to gut their health care. They should be the ones leading the fight against President Trump, but why would they want to align themselves with people who won’t condemn Kathy Griffin? Even I don’t want to be seen in their company.
Liberals: Take the high ground (even if you’ve never seen the 1953 movie of that name starring Richard Widmark). Take the high ground and help the Trump supporters he is going to disappoint, and shaft, understand that not all liberals look down on them. Talk to them about the realities of what the president is doing.
But they’re never going to hear us if they think that we think that Kathy Griffin is really fuuuuu-uuuuu-ny.
Mike Cleveland is former editor of The Cabinet.