Well, this is a fine kettle of fish.
I find myself, a lifetime progressive activist, in the unsavory position of disagreeing with my “side” on one of the big news stories of the day. It would be easy for me to just sit back and let this relatively meaningless furor rage and fade.
But I can’t seem to make myself keep quiet.
Huh. Maybe that’s why I’m such a bleeding heart liberal; I see what I believe to be an injustice, and I have to speak out about it.
So what has me all huffed and puffed up on this lovely spring evening?
The White House Correspondents Association Dinner, that’s what.
Last night the WHCA held it’s annual dinner, as it has since 1920. The dinner was, as usual, an occasion for members of the general media to meet with correspondents who cover the White House. It was, as usual, filled with powerful members of the media and the government that it reports upon.
Everyone in the room knew that a sharp tongued comic would be presenting remarks and everyone knew that those in power would be roasted and laughed at.
In the past, comedians and other entertainers have poked fun at the administration. The whole room has laughed as the President and his cabinet are made to seem silly or ridiculous. It hasn’t always been easy to be a target, but since 1920, every President has attended the event and has smiled through the humor.
But now we are in the age of Donald Trump. Now we have a President who is so fragile and thin skinned that he refuses to show up for the dinner. Instead, he sends his representatives to take the heat.
We also live in a time when that same President of the United States glibly mocks disabled reporters, calls the media “slime” and “terrible people” and “liars.” He makes up insulting names for anyone who disagrees with him and thinks nothing of making crude and debasing remarks about women.
President Donald Trump is a disgusting pig of a human being, and I’d refuse to speak to him if I ever ended up in the same room. He makes me sick. He is the worst example of greed and selfishness that I have ever seen in my 62 years of life.
I don’t think much of anyone who works for him, either. I have little respect those who represent him.
Take, for example, Sara Huckabee Sanders, his Press Secretary. How she can stand to say the crap she says every day in defense of his actions, I do not know.
But last night, at the WHCA Dinner, she was made the butt of the kind of cruel comments and name calling that are usually made by Trump himself. These weren’t “jokes” because they didn’t call on any clever use of words, they didn’t use irony, they didn’t require a witty turn of phrase. And they were spectacularly unfunny.
So I find myself coming to her defense. I find myself criticizing the speaker (I won’t say comedian. She is. not. funny.)
If it’s “edgy” comedy to call someone a liar and to publicly smear their character, then Donald Trump is a comedian.
If we hate it when Trump humiliates people in public and says things that are spiteful and cruel, then we have to hate it when other people do the same thing.
Fellow progressives, I get it. We can’t stomach this guy. We despise him. We despise his minions. I get it.
It’s easy to laugh at them. It’s easy to post memes that make them look stupid and ugly and somehow beneath us. I’ll admit it; I like it when a whole group of my like minded lefty pals share a good guffaw over the Bloviating Blotus.
When we behave in exactly the same way that makes us cringe when it’s the other “side” that does it, we have all been diminished. Nothing is better. Nothing is going to get better.
We can all keep ignoring what we know to be civil behavior and we can keep lowering our expectations of ourselves and others. We can keep assuring ourselves that we are the good guys because “they did it first.” We can keep sinking down and down and down.
But if we do that, we all just end up in a hole that’s too deep to climb out of.
I can’t stand Donald Trump. I will work as hard as I possibly can to see him defeated in 2020 (if he stays in office that long). I’ll campaign for progressive candidates and make calls and knock on doors and push for universal health insurance. I’ll march against wars and guns and in favor of public education.
But I won’t laugh at unfunny insults hurled by people who seem to use the Donald himself as their inspiration.