A Bridge Too Far

M Wolf

Thankfully, I’d never heard of Michelle Wolf before the media was full of “breaking ‘news’” about her “comedy” performance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday April 28. And, had what she said been even remotely in the realm of common decency, I’d no doubt be having trouble recalling her name a few days later.

The title of this post comes from the 1977 war film bearing that title, which came from a comment attributed to a British Lieutenant-General, who in reference to a largely unsuccessful operation intended to allow the Allies to break through German lines and seize several bridges in the occupied Netherlands, told his commanding officer “I think we may be going a bridge too far” in reference to the intention of seizing the Arnhem bridgehead over the Rhine river.

With all the flack in a huge flow of headlines I saw about this in my news feed on Sunday April 29 — even liberal media sources saying that Ms. Wolf “stepped over the line” — I decided to actually watch the 20 minute video of her part of the program. About half way through it, I literally had to force myself to continue. I absolutely couldn’t believe thatanybody — liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, whatever — could stoop that low and articulate that kind of filth even in an event like the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

“Full Disclosure” — Where I’m Coming From

I said when I started up this web site a couple of months before the 2016 elections why I was doing it. I also said that although I wanted to fully disclose my deep-seated Christian faith up front, I intentionally wanted to avoid making the site or the posts to this blog being characterized as “Christian” or even “religious.” I explained all of that in depth in the pages of this site — e.g., Home Page, Who I Am, Why I’m Doing What I Do, and What I Do. I would strongly encourage anyone reading this post — regardless of how you view yourself  from a political or religious perspective — to at least do a cursory review of those pages. I am not writing here only as a Christian — I am writing from a perspective of common human decency that I believe millions of people share with me regardless of whether or not their ideological and political leanings align with mine. Also, particularly if you don’t share my worldview, consider this sample of statements about Ms. Wolf’s remarks by liberal media executives:

Margaret Talev, President, White House Correspondents Association. “Last night’s program was meant to offer a unifying message about our common commitment to a vigorous and free press while honoring civility, great reporting and scholarship winners, not to divide people. Unfortunately, the entertainer’s monologue was not in the spirit of that mission.”

New York Times. “Ms. Wolf’s political comedy routine … was scathing, confrontational and impolite. … The correspondents’ dinner, the past weekend’s fiasco shows, … seems not to know what its purpose is.”

Maribel Perez Wadsworth, President of the USA TODAY Network and Publisher of USA TODAY [from a letter she wrote to Margaret Talev, President, White House Correspondents Association]. “I realize that this is not the first time a speaker at the dinner has sparked controversy. We, however, should not be the controversy. … Some have said that showcasing Michelle Wolf is a celebration of the First Amendment. … In truth, Ms. Wolf represents one point of view, and it is her right to share it. But should we in the press be the ones to give her the stage? Is it appropriate that we invite a celebrity to launch a relentless, and often vulgar, attack on the very people we cover? … I know you agree our credibility is far too important to compromise over a 20-minute abdication of the high road and a few cheap laughs.”

You Be The Judge

Reluctantly, I am including a link to the full 20-minute video here — reluctantly because I hate to do anything that could increase the number of people reached by Ms. Wolfe’s remarks [here’s the link: Michelle Wolf – WHCD]. However, if you haven’t seen it, I believe you should watch it, because in my view this video could be a “litmus test,” something that could reveal just how many people in this country believe as I do that it’s “a bridge too far.”  I honestly believe that number is a clear majority — possibly even two thirds, maybe even more — spanning all political and religious persuasions.

If you consider yourself in this majority, please read on. If not, please read on anyway. … If even one person who does not identify with this majority now becomes one who does as a result of reading this post, the time I spent writing these thoughts will have been well spent — or I’d like to think, well invested.

A Call To Action

What else beyond this could possibly be needed to bring all decent people in this country to the realization that we can no longer just say after something like this “Gosh, that was ‘over the line’“ and then just go about our business and not speak up and/or do something? Let me ask all people reading this post, whatever your political and religious persuasions, to look for and find ways that you, personally, can speak up — or better yet, do something to let this country — and the world —know that what this woman said is not within what the vast majority of Americans would say is within reasonable and acceptable bounds around “freedom of expression.”

To my Christian Readers

I appeal to my Christian readers with this charge to us in the Bible. … “Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all entrusted to the saints” [Jude 3 NKJV/NIV]. And consider these words of wisdom from great leaders from the past. … “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ” [Martin Luther. ] … “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil.  God will not hold us guiltless.  NOT to speak IS to speak, NOT to act, IS to act” [Dietrich Bonhoeffer.]

To My Non-Christian Readers

I’ll have to admit that it’s difficult for me to understand how anybody, regardless of their worldview and belief system, could consider Ms. Wolf’s remarks appropriate. Since any argument I could offer would stem from my worldview and therefore be invalid on its face from your perspective, all I know to do is ask you to back away from the detail and the political “spin” and just view them through the lens of basic human decency. I can’t help but believe that doing so will lead you to the conclusion that what she said just wasn’t right.

Thanks for reading this post, and if you regularly follow my Blog, for that, too. Please consider sharing this or other posts with your friends, colleagues and associates.

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Charles M. Jones

Author: Charles M. Jones, PE, CPA

[retired — neither license active]

One thought on “A Bridge Too Far”

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