I started watching the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on C-Span because I think Michelle Wolf is funny. But then I turned off the television because it felt like I was participating in televised bullying. If this means I’m a weeny, then yes, I am.
I often think about my father these days as I watch the news and feel shocked over the comments coming out of politicians’ (include the President’s) mouths. HCE used to say, “Don’t lower yourself to their standards because they will always go lower than you will.”
When the President calls people names, those people usually don’t retaliate with more names because that would be childish. When Michelle Wolf says that – even if the Republican candidate is “Jeff Pedophile Nazi Doctor” the Democrats will “mess it up” I often think they will mess it up because 1) there is literally not a better candidate running or – more likely – 2) one side will use tactics that the other side will not use because . . . Dignity. Human Respect. Basic Maturity.
I get that Michelle Wolf is a comedian and comics speak uncomfortable truths (because truth is funny as well as stinging) but Saturday night felt unnecessarily stinging. The truest thing she said was at the end: “Flint still doesn’t have clean water” which is not at all funny. I hadn’t watch until the end, but I read about it.
When I also read the post-dinner comments that Michelle Wolf’s words “destroyed” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, I felt more than uncomfortable. It felt like those words further divided us and broke us as a culture. It wasn’t Michelle Wolf’s job to be the peacemaker. At all. But I am craving someone to be a peacemaker.
We have got to figure out a way to stop retaliating and be the people we say we are: working towards freedom and liberty and justice for all.
Who will lead us into that kind of response to our brokenness?
Back to my SHS dream: she and I were at camp together. We were literally doing crafts and making up skits – like you do. She seemed nice. I told her I was sorry for the way she had been treated at the dinner and she was still pretty angry about it. But then I asked her not to retaliate because . . . Jesus.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders and I might never be in the same camp and yet I still believe that nobody changes for the better because of exclusion and humiliation. Love changes people for good. Yes, I just said that. I don’t care if it sounds naive.
But it’s even truer than the fact that Flint still doesn’t have clean water.
Image from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on April 28, 2018 in the Washington Hilton. I think she looked gorgeous that night.