It’s Still #FreeSpeech

in Culture

“I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.” – Oscar Wilde

Kathy Griffin – a relatively unfunny comedienne who just stooped to Amy Schumer-levels – is an American citizen, a human being, and a woman of deep-seeded opinion. Therefore, she is reserved every right to discredit herself as she deems fit.

Of course, I am speaking in regards to the shock campaign and quest for sympathy laughs that she is now vying for after appearing in a photograph depicting her holding the bloodied, beheaded melon of President Donald Trump.

In fact, her “photo” is the latest example of the ambivalence the Left has produced in an effort to resist Trumpism. Naturally, there was a very, very aggressive outcry against the photo upon its release with both figures from all sides of the political spectrum voicing their intentions of condemnation.

Well, I will take a different perspective and stand by it because of how important messages like this are.

No matter what you felt when you saw the lewd photo of what appears to be a bloodied, beaten and battered Donald Trump mask, it still is protected under the freedom of speech provision of the First Amendment, in my opinion.

We can’t forget when Snoop Dogg “shot” Trump in one of his music videos and how it was quickly beguiled as a threat on the President’s life. However, as we all can obviously observe, Mr. Dogg still remains free and still “killing it” in the game of hip-hop (I’m too white to make that sound cool). Nevertheless, I feel that there is a double standard at play, as always.

During my skulking on Twitter today, I noticed that one common argument was something to the respect of:

“If the head was Obama’s in the photo, Kathy Griffin would be arrested.”

After further contemplating this, it makes sense to think if the photo featured our former President, heck –maybe even someone else of liberal prominence, this would be a totally different narrative. Such a narrative would result in a quashing of many viewpoints and could result in a fear factor for many affiliated with the different echelons of the dominant political machine. This would be the same case if there was a criminal investigation sought after.

I even took the liberty to rely on our friends at 4Chan’s /pol/ to provide some wonderful mock-ups of alternative “Kathy Griffin hate crime” photos at the top of this op-ed.

But, in the end, the real challenge comes to another double standard: the political left and right’s hate of hate speech. Both sides have deemed oral, written, and visual works that threaten a status quo (of sorts) with differing opinions as pieces to be lambasted at. I would argue that such a dynamic is a direct result of the idiocy Griffin presents in her “art”.

So, in effect, there is a potential devolution of thought on all sides of the argument because of the sockdolager the photo is.

The one argument that cuts these others to shreds, though, is what I argued above: this is still free speech.

Some research from the American Bar Association contends that limiting the free speech of anyone, even if they are immoral in a degrading way, is still protected and shan’t be repressed in any fashion.

“Should hate speech be discouraged? The answer is easy—of course,” the ABA work read. “However, developing such policies runs the risk of limiting an individual’s ability to exercise free speech.”

Reverting back to this standard should be the best possible outcome from this entire situation. That, with the teaching that “actions speak louder than words (or crappy photo concepts),” must serve as guiding principles.

No matter your opinion on my opinion, I do think a common ground can be made when it comes to how egregious this is.

Yes, protected; but, egregious.

And, given the fact that the United States is still – quite possibly – the freest society on Earth, currently, I’d venture to guess that Griffin is thankful that she isn’t in other parts of the world purporting this rhetoric. For a matter of fact, the image could quite possibly look like something above.

On a personal standard, the Kathy Griffin incident should serve, in addition to hypocrisy, as an example of the lacking of a moral core that the Left is stuck with.

I am not a righteous man, nor an ethicist; but when you have the ability to assert powerful messages with little to no effort, you have to choose how you want to use that power. A yearning for shock laughs isn’t the best way to waste such resources in my book; but, what do I know… I’m just a millennial journalist.

Michael McGrady is the executive director of McGrady Policy Research. His work has been featured, republished and/or cited by media outlets like The Wall Street Journal, The Denver Post, The New York Post, The Daily Caller, Human Events, The Hill, and many others.

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