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Randa Jarrar and the problem with America

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What would happen if Michelle Obama passed away and I tweeted “I’m happy the witch is dead” and am glad that Barack Obama “is really sad right now,” while serving as a professor with the City University of New York, as I have for over 15 years? It is safe to assume that the mainstream media and progressive elected officials in New York would demand my firing, and there would be mass protests outside my college and home.

Last week, when former First Lady Barbara Bush died at 92 years old, Fresno State University English professor Randa Jarrar promptly tweeted, I’m happy “the witch is dead,” and that “George W. Bush is really sad right now.” Jarrar also called Bush an “amazing racist,” and chastised those who were tweeting condolences with “F--- outta here with your nice words.” She further boasted that she could “never be fired” because of her tenure.

As if celebrating the death of someone weren’t bad enough, in response to the outrage about her comments, Randa Jarrar tweeted, “If you really wanna reach me, here’s my number,” and gave the phone number to an emergency crisis hotline at Arizona State University. Needless to say, the hotline was deluged with calls from those thinking they were reaching Jarrar. According to reports, a day after the professor gave the false number, it was receiving 50–70 calls per hour.

These calls overwhelmed the hotline and there is no way to know how many people who really needed life-saving help could not get through because of the professor giving out this bogus number.

All the while California Governor Jerry Brown — who can play a big role in the consequences handed down to an employee of the state — has remained virtually silent.

Progressives leaders throughout the country portray themselves as champions of mental health. In fact, Brown last year touted his signing of a new law that expands intervention programs for mental illness, including setting up public-private partnerships to provide more resources in this area. Here in New York City, Mayor DeBlasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, often speak about their ThriveNYC program, which they claim is the most comprehensive mental health plan of any city or state in the nation.

Brown should walk the walk and talk the talk by condemning Jarrar for her heartless comments about the Bush family and her wrongful use of a suicide hotline number. Unfortunately, I suspect he and others will stay silent because they do not want to upset the far-left progressive movement that is embodied by people like Jarrar.

Coincidentally, while in the White House, Barbara Bush spoke openly about battling depression during the 1970s. During this time, there was a stigma associated with mental health issues, but Mrs. Bush encouraged people not to be ashamed and to get help.

Bush, born in Queens in 1925, is considered to many as America’s modern-day matriarch (after all, she is the only woman in American history since Founding Mother Abigail Adams to be both the wife and mom of an American president). Bush was a champion of universal literacy, founding the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which seeks to improve literacy in the country through programs for preschool children and parents. One would think that an English professor like Jarrar would support this endeavor.

It is unfortunate that many in our society can’t respect families during a time of mourning just because they have different political views. This polarization of our country must end, and it can begin with leaders across the political spectrum, along with the mainstream media, declaring that Randa Jarrar’s comments about Barbara Bush are out of bounds in a civilized American society.

One of the most moving photos from Bush’s funeral services was one of Presidents George H.W. Bush, Obama, Clinton, and George W. Bush, standing together along with First Ladies Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and Melania Trump.

This is the unity we could use more of in America today.

Updated 1:34 am, July 10, 2018
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Reader feedback

Uh-Huh from Not Brooklyn says:
I'll take it a step further, Bob. The problem with this particular incident is that it demonstrates what some of us, including myself, didn't fully realize until recently -- the large number of narcissistic malcontents on the extreme left and extreme right, who are now willing to openly classify the opposition as less than human and deserving on an immediate death.

I have to wonder, what fraction of the population Randa Jarrar truly cares about, and would take pains to protect.

I suspect the answer is, "Randa Jarrar and the small circle of followers -- not friends but followers -- whom she considers useful at the moment."
April 26, 11:11 am
Mike from Brooklyn says:
Good point. The problem too is that self-absorbed a-holes with ignorant opinions have always been around, but you didn't hear from them unless they were public figures or were in your personal circle of friends or work colleagues. The internet and social media have given everyone a soapbox to spread their ignorance, and the press is more than happy to quote some nobody and make it a national story. That's part of the problem.
April 26, 1:23 pm
Jim from Dyker Heights says:
Great column
April 26, 3:20 pm
Mary Ann Lacqua from Carrol Gardens says:
Shame on you Jarrar.
April 27, 3:35 pm

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