I’ve been looking through my news feeds and my social media, and I’m seeing a common theme: Sean Spicer lied to the American People, and he should not be forgiven.
Here’s a link to a CNN article which goes in depth on that point.
Here’s an example of the kind of tweets I’m seeing:
Emmys: We’re awarding several women & POC tonight. That’ll fix our image.
Also Emmys: Meet America’s favorite Hitler defender, Sean Spicer.
— (((OhNoSheTwitnt))) (@OhNoSheTwitnt) September 18, 2017
The idea is that there is no room for forgiveness for any of the people doing Donald Trump’s dirty work. They have sinned against the Will of the American People, and for that, they should be punished. It is a great injustice to celebrate Sean Spicer at the Emmy’s.
I’d like to take a step back from that and offer some counterpoints.
Sean Spicer was a Mouthpiece
The first point is that Spicer stood in front of the podium and lied at the order of the President. We know he lied, and we knew he was lying right from the very start. We have photographic evidence refuting his lies.
Everyone’s saying he lied, and I’m agreeing. I just want us to take a step back and acknowledge that they weren’t Spicer’s lies. They were Donald Trump’s.
We can criticize Spicer for his lack of integrity. Perhaps he’s a coward. Perhaps he believed that broadcasting his boss’s lies was for the good of the country. We can’t know for certain why Spicer continued to do the job as long as he did it. But he’s clearly not doing that job anymore.
We might even criticize him for being bad at his job. He is not the best liar Donald Trump has employed. I think that mantle currently rests on the shoulders of Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Sean Spicer’s Actions at the Emmy’s Confirms the Lies
When Melissa McCarthy stood behind a podium on SNL and mocked Sean Spicer, she gave voice to the outrage over the administration’s lies through satire. She exaggerated Spicer’s idiosyncrasies. She helped reinforce what we all knew: that the messages coming from Spicer’s podium were a lie, and could not be trusted or taken seriously.
When Sean Spicer wheeled out the podium at the Emmy’s, he validated Melissa McCarthy’s performance. He confirmed that what he’d been spouting from the podium, starting with the “largest crowd in history” comment, was a false narrative.
That’s huge. Who else has left Trump’s administration and come clean like that?
And before I leave this point, consider this. There are still people that are drinking from the Trump trough and believe every word from the administration is the gospel truth. Those people remember who Sean Spicer is, and they know how the liberal elite gather at awards like the Emmy’s. What kind of message do you think Trump supporters are reading out of Spicer’s performance at the Emmy’s?
We Should Make it Easy For People to Leave Trump
Suppose Spicer didn’t go to the Emmy’s. Suppose that Spicer was black-balled from speaking engagements, exiled to obscurity, and punished in the ways that social media seems to think he should have been punished. What is gained? We still have Trump’s shills and enablers doing the same dirty work that they did yesterday. We still have a Republican senate trying to take away people’s health care. We still have an unqualified narcissist with no empathy and a short attention span as our President. We gain nothing from punishing Spicer.
But if we embrace Spicer and give him a chance to tell us, through actions if not words, that he really had been a stooge? That could give hope to every other person in the administration that has an inkling of a conscience.
The message we should be sending is this: We know what you’re doing, and we know who is really responsible. Grow a spine, quite doing Trump’s dirty work, and you can still come to our parties and hang out. Maybe we’ll share a laugh about this whole mess, someday.