I don’t usually talk about politics on the world wide web. Mainly because of the reality of the name “world wide.” I choose to have conversations that can be sensitive or offensive within the confines of relationships where I have built trust. Quite possibly I’ve angered my father beyond words and have friends who think I’m absolutely crazy but I know we can continue to have these uncomfortable conversations and our relationship stay in tact even when we disagree. Not knowing when and where is wise to voice your opinions is usually just an example of immaturity. I hope our generation is learning that just because you have access to a platform (social media, youtube, a pulpit, or others) doesn’t mean you should use it for anything and everything you feel.
Because of my concern about how we use our platforms, I’m choosing to venture against my personal rule to discuss the picture that has gone viral of Kathy Griffin holding a bloodied head of our president.
Rarely do I find myself too bothered by outlandish posts or statements on either side of the political spectrum, but in this case I found myself a little frazzled. A little unsettled.
I wonder if Ms. Griffin has ever been to a nation where the reality of beheading isn’t uncommon. I and/or my friends have done work in places like Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and others. Unfortunately, having some terrorist group parade someone’s head around like a trophy hardly even makes the news anymore. It’s common place in certain countries. We’ve sat down with people who have had their family members tortured, beaten, raped, and yes, even beheaded or brutally murdered. And let me tell you it has never been funny.
Perhaps this is why despite anyone’s political beliefs I was caught quite off guard by her… do we call it a… statement?
I’m not totally certain on what she was trying to achieve by being so over the top besides getting her name in the limelight because people couldn’t and shouldn’t ignore that type of outburst. Yet, in a desperate attempt for attention she did something that I hope was incredibly unintentional. You just dehumanized our leader publicly and in an attempt to voice your opinion you tried to make murder seem logical or even worse acceptable.
The truth is the society she tried to make us accept is one I pray our American children will never have to live in. A society where war, brutality, and murder is common place. A society where we’ve so dehumanized certain groups of people based off of political beliefs, religion, or race that bodies are crucified and heads are cut off without remorse. A society where if we don’t like our elected leader we just attempt to assassinate him or overthrow the entire government, usually harming the people we’re saying we want to protect, the citizens. A society that would tell my young nephew to vent his feelings however he’d like no matter how it affects those around him.
I wish I could take Kathy on a walk with me through the streets of nations who would accept the behavior she seems to promote, I have a feeling she might change her mind on how she chooses to vent her political disappointment.
My friends, we just celebrated memorial day, and I’m so thankful that we live in a country where you and I actually get to have a voice. I can write this little note, you can post your religious and political opinions all over the internet, and Kathy supposedly can pretend to murder people publicly. BUT… my prayer is that we don’t degrade ourselves down to a society that is comfortable with dehumanizing others. Terrorism, murder, brutality, it isn’t funny and it isn’t a society you want our children to live in.
If you choose to voice your opinions, go for it, it’s your right, but learn when, where, and how to share. If you see an injustice by all means stand up against it. Regardless of political and religious beliefs you don’t have to reduce another human to nothing in order to have your voice heard or make a stand against their actions.
We’ve been given greater access to the entire world than any other generation before us. Access to learn from it and to influence it. Don’t be ignorant and don’t be foolish. Don’t stand by silent when others would try to persuade you to choose hatred or murder over love. If we live by the sword, we die by the sword, but there’s always been a better way.
For now, I'm sure Kathy has seen that her post wasn't the best career move and simply put, wasn't funny, but I hope we all understand why. It's not simply because that head was our president (whether you like him or not). It's because that head was the head of a human, a real person and murder is never funny. Whether that had been Obama, Bush, a president, an actor, a parent, a child, a bus driver. No matter their status or race, murdering humans is not and will never be funny. I pray our society never accepts it as such.