Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Live Presidents (and the people who hate them)

Kathy Griffin's photo essay should give every American pause and cause us to do some serious reflection.  Her act and others akin to it, really aren't "left" or "right" issues. They reflect the development of a society where less people understand the concept of respect for themselves and for those who hold public office.

It seems that while everyone and their brothers,  sisters and cousins evokes Dr. King's name at the end of every cry for liberty and justice, they fail to incorporate the iron grasp he and other leaders in the movement had on the need to walk righteously and with dignity regardless of what one's adversary might be doing. It seems people want to lay claim to the premise of the message of justice without the substance of the power of the method of righteousness. Can you imagine an icon like Rosa Parks walking about with a representation of some prominent segregationist's bloodied head in her hands?

Would my classmates and I have refused to take a photo with an elected public official that we fully knew did not appreciate our presence in school during my early years of elementary education? Of course not.  She and we possessed too much dignity and respect for the cause and ourselves to stoop to such a level, understanding well the power of dignified, stubborn presence and intelligent engagement over the cloaked ignorance of those who would oppress.

Nevertheless, the disrespect we see now has been brewing for a while on both sides of the aisle.   President Bush had someone impale a likeness of his head on a spear and had someone else write a fictitious dramatization of him being assassinated.  President Obama had a picture of him over which was superimposed a sniper's sight, and had someone bellow "Liar!" during one of his State of the Union addresses. Talk show personalities all along the political spectrum feigned victimhood while out performing their victimizers in vitriolic tone and ugliness.

Dignity in our discourse is fading and respect is waning on many societal levels. Ms. K. Griffin's stunt is merely a pitiful demonstration of what appears to be our new normal.  For the last few administrations,  some Americans have been eager to declare where their loyalty isn't.  We'd better figure out for the sake of the stability of our Republic, where our dignity is.

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