By Bill Mefford
I confess, I love watching Samantha Bee. Samantha, John Oliver, John Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and so many others are incredibly funny and they combine their humor with deeply insightful coverage of important justice issues that very few network news shows ever delve into. From John Oliver's piece on the increasing privatization of the criminal justice system, to Samantha Bee's pieces on domestic abuse and immigration, their shows are both educational and side-splittingly funny.
And I also confess, I have never been a Roseanne fan. Long before I was aware of her politics, I just did not care for her humor. And, by the way, she turns out to make numerous racist statements (Valerie Jarrett was the not first person she called an "ape") and spread baseless alt-right conspiracy theories. I am glad she is off the air, but if she wasn't, who honestly cares?
To compare the two is grossly unfair to the very smart and talented Samantha Bee.
But once all the Twitter bots supporting trump were told one of their heroes had her show cancelled they went looking to cancel someone on the other side. It's the game of false equivalency and it is led by the Narcissist-In-Chief himself. It's so predictable. So, when Samantha Bee made her statement about Ivanka Trump, it was time to exact revenge.
People are outraged - both conservatives and liberals - by what Samantha Bee said. They decry the lack of civility and progressives have fallen for the oldest trick in the political playbook - distraction. We forget that donald trump is now pardoning former contestants on his silly little TV show and despicable people who pled guilty because they actually were guilty of what they were charged and all of these pardons are being given to send a very real message to Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, and the countless others in this corrupt administration that reads, "You're gonna be charged soon with some kind of crime, but keep your lips sealed and the Pardoner-In-Chief will be coming to your rescue."
Progressives so easily turn into the Debbie Downer police that we get distracted from the fact that what Samantha Bee was talking about when she called Ivanka Trump a name is actually still happening! So distracted by schoolyard names, how quickly we forget that Bee was talking about the inhumane policy of the trump administration separating families who cross the border without necessary papers. And this is what matters y'all.
She rightly brought Ivanka Trump into her piece because while her father and boss is ripping a part families, and while Mrs. Trump has tremendous influence and accessibility to the center of power to change that policy, she instead posted a picture of her and her son.
Mrs. Trump is, I am sure, a wonderful mother and she indeed has a beautiful son. They have every right to love one another and express that love for one another openly. I celebrate that for them.
But so should undocumented immigrant mothers. All mothers, regardless of their legal status, should have the right to openly and publicly express their love for their children. No government should interrupt a love between a mother and her child. To do so is the essence of government overreach. Tearing children from their mothers, or their fathers, is what state-sponsored terror looks like. Our government is engaged in the work of terrorism and Ivanka Trump has a unique opportunity to stop this kind of terrorism and she isn't.
It is the absolute zenith of arrogance and white privilege for Ivanka Trump to openly flaunt her freedom to do so knowingly, while thousands of mothers have been robbed of this same action by an administration who is intentionally trying to terrorize immigrants, particularly immigrants of color. It is Ivanka's boss - she works as an advisor to the man who is also her father - who is responsible for this depraved policy. She has, as I just said, incredible access and power to put a stop to this. And instead, she revels in her love while doing nothing for people whose ability to express love for their children has been stolen.
And this is what infuriates me. Yeah, I know the trump bots won't get this. But what the hell are progressives doing going after Samantha Bee while missing the intent of her piece?
Oh how we love to talk about sounding prophetic without ever actually following their lead! Remember Amos when he accosted the wives of the men who were trampling the poor and oppressing those on the margins:
Hear this word, you cows of Bashan who are on Mount Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to their husbands, 'Bring something to drink!' The Lord God has sworn by God's holiness: the time is surely coming upon you, when they shall take you away with hooks, even the last of you with fishhooks. (Amos 4:1-2)
Something tells me Amos ain't getting his own talk show anytime soon. Why did he call them "cows of Bashan?" Because Bashan was known for fertile fields and rich pastures on which to graze. Yep, Amos was prophetically body-shaming them.
What's more, although the oppression of the poor was due to the actions of the husbands, Amos charges the wives - those who directly benefit from that oppression and who have the access and opportunity to stop it and choose not to - with the same charges as he does the husbands. God didn't step in and put Amos in a timeout for a poor choice of words. And you know why? Because the people being directly harmed by the actions of the powerful and affluent are what are most important.
I could not care less what Samantha Bee calls Ivanka Trump or anyone else for that matter. I frankly do not care what Roseanne does either. Let's not lose focus. What matters are the families being ripped apart by this heartless, gutless, and yes, feckless administration.