Indecency is Just Indecent
The recent abhorrent behavior of individuals like Roseanne Barr and Samantha Bee have gone very far in proving one thing, in particular: Mainstreaming disgusting behavior breeds more disgusting behavior. Period. Every time President Trump says something incredibly nasty and we ignore it, the country’s barometer for this type of behavior is negatively affected. Whenever the mainstream media networks, such as MSNBC, protect those who have engaged in the type of behavior that hosts such as Joy Reid have been confirmed to have engaged in, more and more Americans are desensitized to increasingly immoral thoughts, beliefs, and speech. Each of these instances are painful reminders that human beings are fallible, and, more importantly, the rest of us are charged with keeping those individuals accountable for their sinful actions.
In the case of “comedians,” like Samantha Bee, the line is often blurred between what is true belief versus what is just playful jesting. The argument can be made that a comedian doesn’t actually mean many of the rude and crude comments they make, yet they still make them. If a comedian stoops as disgustingly low as Samantha Bee did, in attacking Ivanka Trump, do they simply deserve a pass? Should the normal supporters come to their rescue and circle the wagons, in the name of protecting that person from the pitchforks and torches of the angry mob? These are all legitimate questions, which require thought and meditation, but we can explore them together.
How Objectively “Bad” Were Samantha Bee’s Comments?
Without even looking into the political validity or invalidity of her comments, calling a woman a “feckless (slang term for female anatomy, beginning with “c”)” is absolutely disgusting. The negative connotation carried by that word should ensure that it is automatically red-flagged as off-limits. This term, being as disgusting as it is, should not be uttered as a label for a human being. The type of person that would embody the idea of this word would be such a vile and rotten human being that it would render its use unnecessary. Even then, if a person decided to use such language, that person would be best served by remaining silent, lest they prove themselves to be inappropriate. Every American should be able to agree that the word Samantha Bee used was inherently inappropriate at best.
How Should Samantha Bee’s Supporters React?
As Americans continue to break into tribes, the temptation to protect “our own” continues to skew our better judgment. This becomes exponentially more likely as Americans continue to flee from an unchanging moral value system, which is either directly tied to or derived from Judeo-Christian values. The way individuals are looking at these situations and directing their own actions is deeply troubling. It appears that most people now weigh the cost of sullying their tribe or group’s name, by condemning the actions or words of a fellow member, against the value of assessing those actions or words themselves. Simply put, people are increasingly choosing to ignore, overlook, or flat out defend behavior that they would normally consider appalling, in order to save their group from “taking one on the chin.”
What should be happening is this: Evaluate words and actions based on their merit, value, or appropriateness, regardless of who is responsible for committing or saying them. So, in this specific instance, Samantha Bee’s supporters should find her words inappropriate, and should have the moral decency to admit as much.
What Should Happen Next?
Many people in this country believe we should be automatically calling for people to lose their jobs. That seems to be the trending answer, lately. However, is this type of punitive measure always necessary? As a conservative, I believe the individual businesses have the right to make those decisions, themselves. The extent to which individuals are punished, if at all, should be left to the discretion of their employers, as far as their employment status is concerned.
Setting aside the idea of automatically calling for individuals to lose their jobs, the question still remains: What happens next? Well, if people are intellectually honest, then the country can unite around common decency. That is, if common decency still exists, of course. Supporters and members of the opposition should be able to agree that immorality is immorality. Who is behind the insult, and who is in the “crosshairs” are both irrelevant. At the same time, one act, message, or idea rarely sums up the entirety of a person. Plus, individuals always have the ability to change their ways. We have to remember that, if we hope to return to a place where we can intellectually honest about what happens in the public realm.
In situations like the Samantha Bee comments, the Roseanne Barr tweet, and many of the crude off-hand comments and tweets attributable to our Commander-in-Chief, we need to separate ourselves from our loyalty to the person. We are not disrespecting or tearing down those who we support, when we hold them accountable for their actions. In fact, we are participating in helping them realize the error of their ways, hopefully steering them back toward a more honorable path. Now, clearly, some individuals are incredibly far from honorable, but everyone deserves to be shown the way. The next time something inappropriate happens, the supporters of the person responsible should be put under the microscope. Those supporters, in the spirit mending and uniting the country, must be intellectually honest and morally decent in discerning right from wrong. Do not defend “wrong,” because you are defending your “team.” Stand up for what is morally good, and allow healing to take place.