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Casualties

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There are a lot of offensive things about the White House these days, but Kellyanne Conway’s posture is not one of them. Sure, it probably wasn’t appropriate. Here’s a picture—decide for yourself.

Whether or not the way she sat down was proper is important when examining America’s image to other nations and the changing culture of Washington DC, but it’s something to be looked at, criticized, and moved on from. While manners are important when one is in the public eye, the decisions that put him or her in the public eye in the first place are more important. Suzanne Collins touched on this in her series, The Hunger Games. A recurring character, Effie Trinket, is sent to recruit teenagers who will compete to the death in a televised event. Even though Effie is sending children to their likely deaths, she worries more about manners and image. At one point, she scolds the protagonist for almost damaging a mahogany table in a humorous moment. Through Effie’s character, Collins makes a statement about how human beings are bizarre in their readiness to criticize demeanor and simultaneous reluctance to oppose inhumane policies and practices.

When Kellyanne Conway sat on that couch, we all became Effie Trinket. Our focus was on Kellyanne, the perky blonde with a daring attitude, instead of the real issue: the man behind the desk. Kellyanne’s behavior was representative of the lax attitudes of those in power, but that’s all it was. More offensive than Kellyanne’s posture is Vice President Mike Pence’s support of conversion camps which utilize electroshock therapy to “convert” LGBT youth from queer to “normal.” Electroshock has proved lethal in the past and is widely disputed by psychologists as a means of mental treatment. More offensive than Kellyanne’s posture is Donald Trump’s taped admittance to sexually assaulting women and grabbing them by their genitals. More offensive than Kellyanne’s posture are DC conversations about defunding arts programs, a decision that would cut off NPR and PBS. Withdrawing from the UN is offensive. Retreating to coal use is offensive. Being tried for child rape is offensive.

Moving on to Kellyanne’s posture as an issue unto itself, partisan bias has also played a part in the so-called scandal. When Obama put his feet on the desk, Democrats rushed to his defense to remind Republicans that he was the President of the United States, and if he wanted to put his feet up, he had earned that right, darn it! So wouldn’t that same logic apply to Kellyanne, the first woman to successfully run a presidential campaign (an achievement that has been called feminist)? But these instances of a public figure acting causal on the job and consequently stirring up scandal—casualties if you will—are nothing new. Bill Clinton brought his sex life into the oval office, the epitome of casualness. Even earlier than the Clinton era was Ronald Reagan, one of the nation’s most beloved Republican presidents, who turned heads when he addressed his staff aboard the Air Force One wearing (oh no!) sweatpants. Why do Clinton and Obama get support from Democrats and Reagan and Conway defense from Republicans? Partisan bias has a way of seeping deeply into our American perceptions of politicians. Citizens should objectively acknowledge the mistakes of a politician regardless of party (or lend their support universally if their beliefs allow).

Kellyanne Conway, trademarker of Alternative Facts, is not a smart woman. She avoids questions from journalists and makes incomprehensible defenses for the least popular president in American history. She’s silly enough to put her feet up on an Oval Office couch with the press present. Kellyanne is not what we meant when we said we wanted more women in government (although maybe she really is proving a feminist point by demonstrating that women can do anything that men can do, including being bigoted and unintelligent). However, there are worse things about her. America must take a step back and look at the bigger picture. How will the people from the Kellyanne photo—all of them—affect our relationships with other countries? What will our elected officials decide to do with our healthcare (a very literal life-or-death decision)? How will they resolve the country’s gun violence crisis? What will we do about refugees? Bottom line, Kellyanne’s legs aren’t that important when the person in charge is a conman who has little to no regard for the majority of America’s citizens and their well being under his administration.

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The student news site of Summerville High School.
Casualties