"We all lose."
Mocking Out Others
You’ve probably seen this side-by-side before.
On the left is Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Serge F. Kovaleski, who suffers from the congenital condition arthrogryposis. On the right is Donald Trump, flailing his arms to mock out the journalist.
The story behind this is that Kovaleski reported in the New York Post that people were allegedly seen celebrating the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11, an occurrence that Trump himself seeing “thousands and thousands of people” cheering from Jersey City, NJ, as the terrorist attacks were carried out. Kovaleski later claimed that his own report was based on unfounded “alleged” claims and that Trump was lying about witnessing any such transgression. Trump interpreted this as Kovaleski backtracking on his story.
Take that as you will, while recounting this all at a rally in South Carolina, Trump absolutely, indisputably made fun of Kovaleski’s physical condition by curling his wrists, shaking, and flailing his arms.
Denying the Facts
Yet in spite of the video evidence before our eyes, many people—including Trump himself—are still in denial about these facts.
I hate to give more traction to the video above, but it fascinates me to no end. It consists of over twelve minutes of a seemingly well-organized, carefully-presented defense of Donald Trump in an attempt to “prove” that he did not mock out Kovaleski’s disability. The video’s main argument? That Trump has mocked out multiple other people using similar flailing motions, so he couldn’t possibly have been singling out Kovaleski’s condition. It gets better: The video goes so far as to say that “What the media never showed you, Mr. Kovaleski’s arm doesn’t move when he speaks. In fact, it doesn’t move the way Trump flustered at all […] In fact, Kovaleski’s condition restricts arm movement. It doesn’t cause spasms or uncontrolled arm movements.”
Basically, they argue that because Trump did a bad job mocking out this specific condition, he couldn’t have been mocking the disability in the first place. And people believe this. Watch the video and decide for yourself.
Beyond the Point
By now, these are all moot points, and people are going to think what they want to think, as evidenced by the response on social media today.
The Kovaleski situation was not enough to deter crucial voters from determining the personality traits they wanted in a leader. As Meryl said, “Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.” It becomes normalized. Trump turned an impassioned speech that defended somebody’s basic dignity into a tweet about Hillary’s failed politics. He took a speech that stressed the need for a relentless media into a tweet that blamed the media for reporting dishonestly about his imitation of Kovaleski. But we’ve seen the videos. We have the facts. Meryl Streep was not attacking Trump, merely commenting on his actions. He went on to make it personal, and yet people are reacting by calling out the “Hollywood elite” and biased media, even when Streep herself acknowledged her privilege in her speech.
So you decide for yourself what really happened here, and remember it has nothing to do with how you feel about Donald Trump or Meryl Streep. This was not an anti-Trump speech, this was a pro-human dignity speech, an honest moment corrupted yet again by Trump and his supporters.
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