How Alec Baldwin and Dick Cheney Expose Lack Of Diverse Morals Between Parties



Written By: Anton Sawyer


How Alec Baldwin and Dick Cheney Expose Lack Of Diverse Morals Between Parties

Moral superiority and political jockeying have been around for as long as mankind began electing its leaders. This seems to happen in peaks and valleys; with heights typically being enmeshed with some form of tragedy. Sadly, in journalism, death and sorrow have always made for good press. The shooting that occurred on the set of the Alec Baldwin film “Rust”—a shooting in which a person lost their life—is yet another example. Though the legalities and other nuances have been covered from just about every angle, there is one that I want to examine more closely today.


If you are a liberal, then this article is going to be a little spicy, especially since it hinges on a pretty ugly hypocrisy found in some of the reactions left-leaning individuals have had in the conservative response to the tragedy.


I’m getting a little ahead of myself, let’s take this one step at a time.


 

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Alec Baldwin
Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Alec Baldwin

Since the day that director of photography Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot and director Joel Souza was injured on the "Rust" film set, the horrific event immediately went to the political mats. This was somewhat to be expected given that the shooter was known as the super-liberal Alec Baldwin. Because of how vocal he’s been about his political affiliations, coupled with his multi-year stints portraying ex-President Trump on Saturday Night Live in a negative light, a political bent was all but assured.


The responses from Trump and Trump “The Sequel” are ones that definitely fall under the category of “human puke”.

The elder’s remarks towards Baldwin had been incredibly disparaging, stating "As bad as it may have been kept, meaning, you know, the people that take care of the equipment and the guns and everything else ... But even if it was loaded, and that's a weird thing—maybe he loaded it." Trump continued, "He's a cuckoo-bird, he's a nutjob. And usually, when there's somebody like that, you know, in my opinion, he had something to do with it."


Not to be outdone, Donald Trump Jr. has been peddling T-shirts on his website that mock the fatal shooting on Alec Baldwin's movie set. The T-shirts include the tagline "guns don't kill people, Alec Baldwin kills people." He’s also carrying on the time-honored Trump tradition of sending out inflammatory tweets saying things like, “Spare me your fake sanctimony. The media is in full panic mode to protect Baldwin from ANY criticism because they agree with his politics. If the shoe were on the other foot, Baldwin would be the first guy out there pissing on anyone involved & the media would be joining him.”


When asked about these tasteless responses, both Trumps will often shift blame (like above), or laugh it off and call it humor.

Before we go too much further, I think it needs to be made clear that I know black humor is one of the many coping mechanisms used by some when it comes to dark topics like mortality. Even myself, who has attempted suicide previously, will make jokes about it as a way to deal with the grim realities of my choices. But the entirety of these responses has been—as to quote the Yellow Guy from DHMIS fame—something different. I will say though, the part in Don Jr.’s tweet about the shoe being on the other foot is an element that needs to be mentally held to the side (but just for a moment).

In an interview with George Stephanopolous, when asked what his response was regarding the statements made by Trump, Baldwin made his feelings clear. "Just when you think that things can't get more surreal, here's the former president of the United States making a comment on this tragic situation.” It’s the next statement by Baldwin upon which this article today hinges. Responding to a question from Stephanopoulos about whether he's become a target because of his political views, Baldwin said, "I don't think that anybody has said anything about and has used this as an opportunity other than people you would fully expect to have done that."

It's that last statement—“other than people who you would fully expect to have done that”—is where the hypocrisy lies. To understand, we must turn back the hands of time to 2006




Dick Cheney
Karen Ballard, White House., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Dick Cheney

In February of that year, former Vice President Dick Cheney was out hunting with a group of friends when he accidentally shot Harry M. Whittington in the face. After the blast, Whittington suffered a heart attack as a side-effect; he survived both. It was shortly after this bit of news hit the mainstream that many high-profile liberals came out and made a plethora of jokes about the Cheney shooting.


Comedian Bill Maher added his own comedic flavor to the tragedy, saying "What I don't understand about this whole thing is that the guy who got shot, this is his statement today, he said my family and I are deeply sorry (his face got in the way) for everything the vice president and his family had to go through this weekend. Wow, that is one loyal Republican. He also referred to the buckshot wound in his face as 1,000 points of light."


Late-night talk show host David Letterman added a barb with his joke, "We can't get Bin Laden, but we nailed a 78-year-old attorney."

And SNL not only took the opportunity to make a joke on the Season 34 Episode 22 show when Will Ferrell was playing then-President George W. Bush and made the comment, “Okay. Good! Then, we’re in agreement. Okay? You cool it with the world tour, and I’ll keep my mouth shut! By the way, they still only know about the one face shooting.” But the show also made another joke when Ferrell returned in 2018 when he dredged up the moment Cheney shot his hunting pal to scare off viewers who miss the former vice president over Trump Vice President Mike Pence. "Cheney shot a guy. In the face. Those were the days," the duo crooned—Ferrell was joined by Leslie Jones as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to reminisce about their time in the White House.

There are other examples I could toss about, but I think you get the idea.

The only major difference between the Cheney and Baldwin tragedies is the fact that a person died in one of them.

Is that the bar? So long as someone doesn’t die, then it’s joke fodder, and that’s the level of morality you want to hang your political hat on?


It’s these reactions (and about a thousand other examples I could cull from) that illustrate why both the Republicans and Democrats have shown that when it comes to death brought about by their opponents that force me to say that on a political front, there’s no difference between the two.



And this is the problem with trying to add politics to a situation where your foundation is based on some sort of moral superiority. As a species, we can toss around different philosophies that have been shaped by our upbringing, by our life experiences and environments. We do so all while waxing poetic about the best way to enhance us as a being when it comes to a moral system that is just for everyone. But when a group of those thinkers come away so sure of their “correctness” that they lay judgment on everyone else and see themselves as infallible is when the trouble starts. This also happens to be where we currently reside in the American political lexicon of the 21st century.


I’m not sure, but the entire time I was researching and writing the article today I had this constant nagging in the back of my head with the entire situation. Maybe I’m wrong, but isn’t there some book somewhere that mentions something about glass houses and stones or something?

 

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