(Image by Molly Reilly/AFP/Getty)
By Coleman Patrick Ranahan
White House Press Secretary – Spokesman for the President of the United States and the Executive Branch of the government.
Now, imagine a man, who on behalf of the President of the United States of America, the leader of the free world, one of the most powerful people in existence, came before an entire nation and his first words weren’t that of hope, a shared compassion, a message of unity, but instead were that of a scorched earth, a message not of coexistence and raising others up, but that of something so critically stupid, so beyond the pale of what matters in the mind of the modern American, that the sight of the American message disappears.
Crowd sizes – the great trivial pursuit. Sean Spicer’s first press briefing was one for the ages. He gripped the lectern hard as he railed on about the bust of Martin Luther King Jr, and then transitioned to crowd sizes. Barely catching his breath, he leapt from one sentence to the next, as if a open mic comic was trying to remember his jokes, trying hard to please, trying not to eat it in front of a whole nation. Except his words weren’t just his, they weren’t personal. They were that of the man with most powerful nuclear arsenal on the face of the planet, mere yards from where he stood.
Comedy as they say, is the age old equation of tragedy plus time. But in Sean Spicer’s case, it’s all tragedy, and none of the time.
Tonight, Sean Spicer was paraded around a crowd of celebrities at the Emmys, treated as if he were Melissa McCarthy’s joyous, bombastic, painfully accurate impression. People laughed, Spicer made light of his own tenure, pictures of celebrities openly gaping at the appearance of someone who beckoned to Donald Trump’s call to chastise and threaten the freedom of the press on an annual basis, openly lied about the repeal of American healthcare, and told lies on an annual basis.
That very press by the way (you’ll notice this is a nerve for me), whose existence has yielded countless corporations and government officials doing things we wouldn’t even know about it if we didn’t have a free press. It’s exposed heinous killers, generated thoughtful discussion on social issues, and exposed dangerous, dangerous practices of all kinds. And they laughed.
This isn’t Melissa McCarthy chewing gum in front of a podium. It’s not Stephen Colbert’s over-the-top Republican caricature. This is the man communicating on behalf of the federal government of the United States, who openly targeted reporters, congressional leaders, and advocated the for the heinous collateral damage killings of family members of enemy combatants. It’s not that he’s not allowed to make light of himself at some point in the future, it could come in time, but the wounds he and the administration inflicted are so fresh, it’d be like watching someone stand over you, having just stabbed you, going, “Sorry the blade wasn’t dull enough…”
“That’s what you sign up to do,” he lauded on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night talk show, alluding to saying whatever needed to be said for Donald Trump.
Callbacks to World War II are easy, but when some German soldiers were asked as to their participation in the countless slaughter of Jews and Europeans, some soldiers replied that they were just following orders (commonly known as the Nuremburg defense). That’s one thing that has always stuck out to me, in the worst war of all time, the simplicity of “we were just following orders.” Sean Spicer isn’t a nazi, but he worked for a white supremacist sympathizer.
Never mind the countless damage this President has done to the United States reputation, never mind the withdrawal of the United States on the world stage, a hollow shell of a man stood before us for months, his character voided out and presented like an art show, welded together. He chose to be a puppet of the United States, to be directed however he pleased, drawing a paycheck from the American taxpayer, and willing to openly lie like a bad car salesman on his last legs.
I guess it’s indicative for Sean Spicer to want to fraternize amongst a group of pretenders. After all, the biggest pretender of the world holds the title of President. But it’s not hard to smell the opportunist in the room, the one who reeks of doing whatever it takes to get him into that bumpin’ Hollywood club. Not all of them wear stupid hats, leather pants, or are trying to shove their business card down your throat, this one just happens to have a fitting tuxedo this time around.
Sean Spicer as the mouth piece for the President, damaged the country, damaged the press, and damaged himself. He was willing to be openly flayed, humiliated, and torn apart in front of a whole nation, all in the name of appearances.
And now he’s back, chatting with late night talk show hosts, comedians, actors, taking selfies, making light as if his targeted press conferences meant nothing, that it was all part of the game. Except Sean Spicer isn’t Omar Little. He’s not sticking up other drug dealers, being the rebel with cause, he’s worse than the entity he tried to vilify.