Those of us who write, who share our words, thoughts and ideas with the public, have a responsibility. That responsibility is to get our message out with respect, without crossing certain lines of integrity. In 2009, a picture spread across the internet depicting President Obama taking the oath of office seen through a rifle scope with the President in the crosshairs. That crossed the line. Many, many other disturbing, disgusting and downright grotesque memes have been created, pictures shared, and articles written that crossed the line. That is one of the downsides of free speech, but since we cherish and protect our right to free speech, we must also use good judgement. We must police ourselves so we do not open a door for somebody else to do so.
I’m sure you have all seen the photo of Kathy Griffin holding a prop that is supposed to represent the bloodied head of Donald Trump. I will not place that picture on this post, nor on any other, as it so blatantly crossed a line that it does not belong anywhere, certainly not on this blog.
Ms. Griffin has since apologized, whether with sincerity or not, I do not know. It does not matter. There are some things that cannot be fixed with an apology, and this is one of them. Words spoken in hate can never be unheard, and images such as this one cannot be unseen. With the far-reaching, long lasting capabilities of the internet, apology or no, this image will be around for a long, long time. And children will see it and have nightmares. Donald Trump’s 11-year-old son Barron was reportedly quite upset … understandably.
In order to post such a heinous photo, in order to imagine the idea of doing so, one must possess a warped mind, one without the filter of a conscience. I neither know nor care who thought of the idea, whether it was Griffin herself, or a publicist, or Joe down at the pool hall … it was wrong. It is equally wrong for anybody to share that photo on social media, yet some are doing so.
In a conversation this morning about this photo, I said that anybody who shares this photo is wrong, but then, the more I thought about it, I concluded that anybody who does not condemn this behaviour is, in their silence, tacitly approving. I do not mean that everyone has to post on their Facebook account that they condemn Kathy Griffin and the photo. However, for myself, since my blog is all about culling out instances of injustice and cruelty, and shining a light on them, how can I ignore this? If I speak against the hate of people like Wayne Allyn Root and Jeremy Christian, then I must also speak out against Kathy Griffin and those who assisted her in creating such a terrible image and spreading it far and wide.
I have no love or respect for Donald Trump, as you all know by now. However, this really wasn’t about Donald Trump … this was about respect for society as a whole. How many people have pulled up their Facebook account only to have that image in their face? Thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Millions? How many of them were children? How many were disgusted? How many laughed? How many shared the image with even more people?
Griffin is a stand-up comedienne who has released six comedy albums, all of which received Grammy Award nominations. She was, until a few minutes ago, slated to co-host CNN’s coverage of the annual New Year’s Eve program with Anderson Cooper, but early this afternoon, CNN announced that they have terminated their agreement with her. She has basically thrown a lucrative career in the trash bin … and for what? She lowered her standards and will pay the price, which is as it should be. Perhaps if she had bothered to think about what she was doing …
I do not feel sorry for Trump, though I’m sure some will. I do not feel sorry for Griffin. I do feel sorry for those of us who have to see this sort of trash every day, and I feel sad that some people have completely lost respect, lost compassion for others. There are so many more important issues, but stupid things like this distract our attention. Democrat or Republican … everyone should find this type of behaviour unacceptable. Yes, we have freedom of speech, but let us use some good judgement and common sense, let us not forget about respect for others.