Trump supporters’ feelings have been hurt by late night comic Stephen Colbert’s monologue earlier this week about Donald Trump and they are petitioning CBS, Colbert’s employer to fire him.
The effort seems to be picking up steam. The petition on Change.org “Fire Stephen Colbert” has picked up a whopping 566 signatures. Another one on Care2 called, “Stop Trump Bashing By Stephen Colbert” has stimulated 207 Trump followers whose bonnets are buzzing with bees.
The statement accompanying the “Stop Trump Bashing” petition, argues the following:
The goal of this petition is to get CBS to either fire Stephen Colbert from “The Late Show” OR make it a policy that Stephen Colbert, or any other host, can no longer bash the President Of The United States. I start this petition as a citizen of the United States Of America that thinks a late night talk show is not the place to ridicule the President, and to do so shows poor taste.
“Mary A.” from Oklahoma comments on her reason to sign the petition – “I am a supporter of our President. No one in the media has the right to say such things about him. Please fire this man or I’ll find another channel to view.”
It appears that neither ‘Mary A.’ or ‘James S.’, the sponsor of the petition, or for that matter, the President himself, realize that America has a Constitution and an inconvenient little provision called the First Amendment, which guarantees not only the right to free speech, but the freedom of the press.
There is virtually no likelihood of Mary or James or any other Trump devotee actually watching CBS during the day, much less beyond the 11PM hour. There is also a distinct odor of hypocrisy in this moral crusade. Trump supporters were outraged about Ann Coulter’s canceled speech at Berkeley (and to my way of thinking, rightfully so) – but a week later, they want Stephen Colbert muzzled. Meanwhile, the silence from this crowd is deafening in response to Coulter’s snark about North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s missiles only being able to reach Tijuana.
Perhaps a workable compromise on North Korea would be: We allow Kim to develop only warheads capable of reaching Tijuana.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) April 29, 2017
Then there is Jenny Beth Martin, President of Tea Party Patriots who actually thinks CBS should conduct an investigation of the Colbert episode:
“CBS, for its part, should investigate how this monologue ended up on the air. The Late Show is a pre-recorded production. And, based on the accounts from Colbert and CBS this week, the monologues are scripted, rather than delivered off the cuff. So, in other words, lots of people knew that Colbert had given a vulgar and obscene speech against the president, and they went ahead and taped it, and then aired it anyway. Colbert was not the only one lacking in good judgment, and CBS should delve into the issue to find out where, exactly the breakdown in oversight occurred.”
Ms. Martin, vulgar and obscene are subject to individual taste and once we head down the road you want to lead on, there will be a lot of content that will have to be disposed of. Alex Jones’ performance art comes to mind as one example. Better rethink this Jenny.
Such clamoring to silence dissenting voices is certainly not a recent development in history. The Third Reich decided that books not glorifying the Hitler regime and the Master Race, were subversive and could not be permitted.
Going back a bit further in history, the impulse to purge opposing ideas and worldviews is highlighted by such developments as the suppression of Galileo, the issuance of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum , the Inquisition and later, in our own fledgling Republic, the Sedition Act of 1798, which made it illegal to voice or print anything the government defined as malicious speech against the President or the government. Until Thomas Jefferson was successful in repealing it, several journalists were prosecuted and some actually sentenced to prison.
We have a colorful history and tradition of using satire and ridicule to puncture the inflated egos of politicians. Jefferson himself was mocked by John Adams’ partisans as maintaining a “Congo harem” at Monticello. Adams’ family was dragged into the fray, opponents claiming that he planned to marry his daughter into the family of King George III and that Adams had secreted prostitutes from England into the country.
Andrew Jacksons’ detractors floated rumors that Jackson had soldiers killed that went AWOL killed in the War Of 1812 and his marriage to his wife declared illicit on religious grounds, because she had been divorced. Jackson’s wife, Rachel, succumbed to health problems and died before the election, which some attributed to the trauma of the campaign.
Abraham Lincoln was derided as being simian in appearance and his counterpart in the election, Stephen Douglas, 5’4” – “as tall as he is wide”. Then there was Grover Cleveland enduring the salacious claims that he fathered an illegitimate child, which had an accompanying taunt, “Ma, Ma, Where’s my Pa?” When Cleveland won, his supporters came up with a response: “Gone to the White House, ha ha ha!”
More recently, we had a presidential candidate call his opponent “Lyin Ted”, threaten to “spill the beans” on his wife and subscribe to a nakedly false conspiracy theory that his opponent’s father participated in a plot to assassinate President Kennedy. All of this, by the way – is perfectly legal, and should be in a free society.
Beyond this, it seems ironic that Trump’s defenders are so incapable of seeing the irony of their sheltering from criticism, an individual whose essential insecurities are so deeply rooted and whose impulses are so unbridled that he himself is compelled to employ vulgarities against anyone he deems as an enemy. A man for whom there was no reluctance to mock a woman’s menstrual cycle – saying of Megyn Kelly, “There was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her… wherever.”
Whereas Trump devotees want an apology from Colbert, Trump declined to do so, saying “she’s able to take care of herself”. Trump himself has said in response to those who call for decency and decorum, “folks, we just can’t afford to be so nice anymore. We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore”.
Trump has never apologized to anyone he has ever employed malicious and contemptible character assassinations of and he never will unless he has a deathbed conversion of some sort. Yet we are told that his critics are obligated to do so. I was led to believe that Trump is the macho, emotionally calloused national leader, not the Snowflake In Chief. The Oval Office is no place for crybabies and it shouldn’t be necessary to shield Donald Trump from the reality that aside from his staunch political base, much of the country finds him buffoonish at best and contemptible at worst.
Some of the reactions on Twitter have been amazing in their obliviousness to the character of their wounded hero. Here’s a dandy from Steve Konicki on Twitter. who thinks Colbert is “unhinged and mentally unstable”.
— Steve Konicki (@TheSteveKon) May 2, 2017
Finally, I find it important to point out that technology has gifted us with an app for political expression over the airwaves that we find offensive and undesirable – the remote control. Use it and leave the rest of us to decide what is entertaining and what is not.
This is true Liberty when free born men
Having to advise the public may speak free,
Which he who can, and will, deserv’s high praise,
Who neither can nor will, may hold his peace;
What can be juster in a State then this?