Let’s see, so far, today I have been called a libertard, retard, snowflake, F*^$ing A$$hole, POS, as well as advised to die, drink bleach, and suck on a number of different people’s particular body parts. All this over a remark I made in response to a tweet from our president about how traumatized little Baron was over a Kathy Griffin photograph showing her holding the head of Big Bad Don.
Here is what blows me away: the shear number of people who checked in and read my remark on a FOX News Facebook post that felt compelled to call me ugly names, make remarks about my mom, my dad, my kids, and my intelligence and then go on to explain why free speech has gotten out of hand. Then again, this is also what I expected when I posted the comment on a FOX thread rather than one of those fake liberal threads that are trying to brainwash us.
I was also shocked at how many people feel it is impossible to shield kids from the internet or news and go on to explain how Kathy Griffin’s photo was everywhere while not worrying about the violent video games their kids play, or the abundance of porn available to them, or the fact that mom and dad have no reservations about posting photos of themselves getting plastered while on vacation.
These same folks defended the president as a man of integrity who has done a fantastic job of raising his children while forgetting he is the same man who brags of groping women or does not hesitate calling them fat pigs. I guess his free speech is not as offensive to them so it should not be denied, but when a D-list comedian who has a history of doing and saying anything for attention does something outlandish, they suddenly want her arrested and tried for treason.
I was not impressed by what Kathy Griffin did and I certainly never would have advised her to take the photo in question that has raised a firestorm. Then again, I also wouldn’t advise the president to say half the crap he says because he promotes hate and violence among his followers and detractors. He lives to push buttons and then soaks up the responses.
However, I also believe it is not the role of government to place clamps on free speech more than what exists. We are better off as a society if we police ourselves. In the case of Kathy Griffin, people spoke out and apparently she listened enough to apologize. We are free to boycott any comedy clubs that employ her, any networks that give her air time, and any publishers that sell her words. The market will listen and decide for themselves whether or not it is in their best interest to give her career any more attention and that is the best form of freedom that exists.
In that sense, it is not any different than with our president. Like him or not, personally, I can’t stand the person, he connects with a large segment of our population that currently feels empowered to promote his brand of divisiveness and hate. If he makes it past the 2018 mid term elections, he will stand for re-election and the vitriol will resume between both the far left and far right until the first Tuesday in November of 2020, at which time we will all have had a chance to freely express ourselves.
Until then, there will be more Kathy Griffins, or Ann Coulters who do or say outlandish things and they will feel compelled to do so because they have a president who is a horrific example of how to conduct oneself. Just making that statement is enough to bring the haters out and toss more names and barbs my way.
Freedom of speech also means the freedom to listen to and give voice to whoever you see fit to. In this case, Kathy Griffin received more free publicity than she ever thought possible. Perhaps this was her plan all along; say or do the most outlandish thing possible and run with it. In that sense, she took a page from the Trump campaign book. She out Trumped Trump and that is not easy to do. Trump was so angry, he covfefed a brick.
My point is simple: if you do not like how someone expresses him or herself, don’t give them an audience. I actually made it almost 24 hours without seeing the photo in question because long ago I tuned out Kathy Griffin. I won’t, however, tune out the president because as the leader of this nation, he has a responsibility to lead by example and the one he is setting is one where anybody can say anything at the expense of others no matter how ugly or hurtful it may be and that takes on a life of its own.
How long before it begins being the reason it leads to the taking of lives? Mr. President, it starts with you.
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.