The Kathy Griffin controversy has completely missed the point. Yes, we have freedom of speech in the United States of America. And, yes, when public opinion and sources of income cringed at her form of twisted comedy, she ‘apologized’. It was a general apology directed at no one. Just an ambiguous “Oh, gosh…I guess I crossed a line” form of apology.
I would like to suggest that Ms Griffin consider whom she affected with her twisted and dark attempt at comedy. The obvious victims are President Trump and his family. Unfortunately both sides of our country’s political war are to blame. We have hung presidents in effigy; we have maligned the integrity of our elected leaders through biased media; we have made those who serve our nation in the executive, legislative and judicial branch into dysfunctional caricatures ; we have impersonated grossly exaggerated traits in the name of comedy; and the list goes on.
Sidebar: And we wonder why we have a problem with bullying in our schools…another topic for another day…
There are others who have been deeply affected by her hateful and self-serving attempt at humor. Does anyone remember Daniel Pearl? He was one of many who was murdered by radical terrorists. His head was severed from his body and held for the world to see and absorb the depth of threat this savage group posed to all of us. There were others…James Foley, Peter Kassig and others who we never knew their names including innocent children. And this is a symbol to be used as a form of political comedy? Ask the families of the dead if they are laughing now. Ask them if they see the humor. Rather, a sincere and heartfelt apology might be appropriate.
A day doesn’t go by that we don’t read about another terrorist attack. Manchester, Brussels, Paris, Afghanistan, New York, Florida, San Bernadino, Boston…to name a few. Innocent people, including children, have been killed by terrorist suicide bombers. The headlines never stop. They keep increasing, terrifying and numbing us to the fact that this isn’t the way God, or by whatever name you call the Divine, created life to be.
I remember being a young woman and reading about bombings in Northern Ireland or conflicts in Israel. I wondered what it would be like to live under such circumstances – never knowing where it is safe. It seemed so foreign and unacceptable. Our worries started and ended with concerns about car accidents and cancer. Never did we imagine that no place, not even a house of worship, is totally safe. Yet, here we are today. We consider where we go and what we do based on the threat level and whether or not the chance is worth it. Some simply stay home. Some try to protect themselves with weapons. Most of us go about life as usual, only more aware of who and what is surrounding us.
So, Ms Griffin, here are several more groups of people who deserve your apology. We have to remember all of the souls that have been lost to these vicious barbarians and the families who suffer their loss. We have to think of the women who have been brutally victimized simply because they are women. We have to think about the children who have been tortured and killed, or those who have been brainwashed into becoming the next generation of merciless beasts. We have to think about the men who have been butchered because they couldn’t and wouldn’t join the ‘forces’. A lame “oops” isn’t going to soothe their pain.
Finally, we cannot forget the armed forces that fight daily to change the course of this scourge. There are young people from most countries in the free world who sacrifice to allow us the comforts of freedom, including free speech. I might also add to this list the families of these young soldiers and sailors; the families of the commanders, admirals and generals; and the mothers, fathers, children and spouses of the fallen as those who need to hear your humble gratitude for all they have given to you so that you ‘have the right’ to defame them in the name of free speech. Which, I might add, is exactly what you did when you used an exceedingly savage symbol in your ‘funny’ hate-filled picture.
This has to stop…now! It isn’t about a comedian making fun of a president whom she doesn’t agree with. This is about each and every one of us understanding how our actions affect others. It’s about living with compassion and character. It’s about humility. It’s about living in relationship with those around us, even when we don’t agree with them. It’s about changing the wrongs in the world through working together. It’s about so much more than getting the last laugh no matter who it hurts. It’s about knowing that no person or group should be the butt of our jokes no matter what! It’s about knowing that we have the right to disagree, but never the right to maliciously malign another person.
Ellen DeGeneres once said she would never make a joke at someone else’s expense. This, friends, is a great comedian and compassionate woman.
Ms Griffin? Not so much…