In one poorly calculated move, Kathy Griffin alienated Donald Trump, lost at least two jobs and possibly her reputation. Yesterday morning, half the nation called for her head (not sure how that’s not at least a little hypocritical). For the moment, she is ruined.
But here’s the thing. She apologized. She admitted she went too far. “Too far” may seem obvious to us mortals, but I’m guessing that when you build a decades-long career on comedic shock value, you run the risk of losing track of the line. To phrase the understatement of the year, she goofed. She goofed, she’s sorry, and she’s facing the music. We can let it go. Also, I read her Wikipedia bio; she seems to have a way of getting fired or banned and then rising from the proverbial ashes.
She’s not alone, however, when it comes to people, both celebrity and non, bashing the leader of the free world – and each other.
I’m all for free speech. I understand that those who are diametrically opposed to my beliefs get to shout their own from the rooftops. I may not like what they’re saying, but I like the freedom. I know that a little less than half of the U.S. population is diametrically opposed to Donald Trump, and I’m betting Kathy Griffin thought something like, “what better symbol for our discontent than Trump’s severed head?”
Here’s the trouble with Donald Trump’s severed head. It is not a symbol of discontent. It’s a symbol of our collective and misguided wrath. It is a symbol that we have forgotten the art of debating a controversial topic with grace and dignity – in favor of hurling metaphorical and physical rocks. For all the specific things wrong with dangling the president’s severed and bloodied head by its hair, it points to a much larger failure.
The right, the left, the in-between-ers and the outsiders, we’ve stuffed ourselves inside our respective silos and point our blaming fingers. We raise up severed heads, a harbinger if we’re not careful, a hint that if we found someone from one of those silos on the roadside, we might just leave him there. We spend our energies battling each other, when our energies would be better spent listening, learning and seeking compromise.
I am not the first person to point out that we are not a nation of liberals and conservatives; we are a nation of individuals.