By now, you’re probably well aware of the infamous photo Kathy Griffin has taken of herself holding up a fake, decapitated head resembling that of President Donald Trump. People on both the left and right sides of the political spectrum have largely condemned her actions – and rightly so. Now CNN is considering whether or not to include her in the annual New Year’s Eve coverage with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. What do we make of all this, you and I?
If you’re anything like me, you’re absolutely disgusted with Kathy Griffin. She’s a known leftist posing as a comedian (which would be easier to believe if she was actually funny) on a network that is seen as phony in their coverage by many.
Kathy has since apologized for what she did, but the damage is done. We are living in a time where division is running rampant in our country, and tearing us apart. It’s increasingly more difficult to have honest disagreements with others without name calling or some other form of hate. It’s good that people on all sides have largely condemned these despicable actions, but does that really solve the problem? Not at all. In fact, I think it divides us even more.
Liberals are largely silent when Republicans and Conservatives are mocked relentlessly. No one is off limits, even their children. Conservatives will, in turn, attack the left for their hypocrisy over their outrage when any off color comment is made about one of them. Old wounds will be reopened. Dirt will pile upon more dirt. The hate will continue.
This is what disturbs me greatly about the direction of our society. Forget politics. This is a matter of human decency and dignity. We should be able to formulate an honest opinion without letting hate and anger guide our logic and reason. Both sides have things to apologize for. All of us are sinners. To claim to be anything else is simply foolish and only perpetuates the problem.
At the same time, there begs the question: should someone like Kathy Griffin be fired for what she did? From a Conservative Libertarian standpoint, I’ve had to think long and hard about this to maintain some level of consistency, both legally and morally speaking. As a constitutionalist, I firmly believe in free speech – not just speech that I agree with, but speech with which I vehemently disagree. Defending only the speech you like or that which barely ruffles your feathers does no one any good. It requires little effort on my part to defend what Ted Cruz, Ravi Zacharias, or Glenn Beck have to say. We see eye-to-eye on so much. But what about Kathy Griffin? Bill Maher? Michael Moore? Bill Ayres? They constantly say things I find disgusting and reprehensible, yet I don’t call for them to be in prison or prevented from having a voice. Why? Because I believe in a constitutional republic for all. I believe you have the right to be stupid.
At the same time, I don’t believe in the right to provoke violence or threaten violence on other human beings. Freedom isn’t the same thing as anarchy. Freedom, in my view, must be within reason and without violating the rights of other people.
Based on CNN’s own reporting, Griffin knew full well what she was doing and fully intended to divide and tear people apart. She knew she could more than likely be investigated for her choices, yet she did it anyway. Now she’s begging for forgiveness? Not so fast.
In my view, what Kathy Griffin did was not only reprehensible but un-American. Threatening violence on the President of the United States isn’t a joke. Sure, she’s a comedian. Sure, comedians are constantly edging as close to the line as possible. But in a society in which so many already hate President Trump and wish him ill, does this act help further that desire or hinder it? Does it come across as simply a joke that anyone can see as reasonable?
I think she should be fired from CNN for what she did, but not because she simply said something offensive. As I said, she knew what she was doing. She knew it was wrong. She knew it could easily be conceived as a threat. To have any sort of credibility as a news network, I would never tolerate that. Should she be prosecuted for it? I’m not so sure. Perhaps. Perhaps not. I’ll leave that up to the legal system to decide.
In the end, we should condemn this sort of behavior on all sides. At the same time, we have to be extraordinarily careful that we don’t fall down the slippery slope of boycotting or jailing people just because they say something offensive at all. History has shown where that gets us, and it’s not a happy place.