Comparing tragedies distracts from solutions



Press Secretary Sean Spicer speaks during the Daily Briefing at the White House Wednesday, March 29, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

By Tatiana Rodriguez, Columnist

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer makes himself an easy target for the outrageous incidents in his daily briefings. From jokes about “alternative facts” to a full-blown skit on Saturday Night Live, Spicer hasn’t done much to redeem himself and quell the jokes — especially when he starts talking about World War II.

On Tuesday, Spicer made a Hitler comparison in a daily briefing saying: “We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II. You know, you had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”

Spicer attempted to condemn the actions of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for authorizing a chemical gas attack on rebel forces that killed dozens by trying to make the argument that Assad is worse than Hitler.

Social media immediately reacted, criticizing Spicer for such an outlandish comment. Many highlighted not only the severity of the issue but pointed to the secretary’s ignorance on Hitler’s history with chemical weapons and how he killed millions of people in gas chambers.

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    Spicer tried to clarify his statement, saying Hitler apparently did not use “the gas on his own people the same way Assad is doing.”

    Though Spicer eventually issued a full apology for his ridiculous comments, he brings up an issue that comes up when discussing tragedies: People often try to compare one event to another.

    Though comparing two tragedies usually doesn’t escalate to discussing Hitler, it’s always problematic to compare tragic events regardless of their magnitude. Getting caught up in whether or not a tragic event is worse than another distracts from the actual problems that caused them to occur. in the first place.

    In this case, Spicer’s comment detracted from the actions of the Syrian and American presidents by adding an unnecessary question of whether or not this is worse than the “Holocaust centers.”

    President Trump’s decision to fire missiles into Syria under the guise of trying to strike back at Assad’s government for gassing their own people needed to be discussed and critiqued — harshly. The issue of whether or not Russia will be aligning with Syria needs to be talked about.

    If we focus on outlandish statements about which tragedy is worse, no change will come but more SNL Spicer skits definitely will.

    “I’ve let the president down,” Spicer said to MSNBC’s Greta Van Susteren post-Holocaust comment fumble.

    While this is certainly true, Spicer meant to apologize for distracting from the supposed “accomplishments” that the president achieved for bombing Syria. It seems as if Spicer will keep missing the point on what the true issues at hand are.

    But while Spicer will continue to be clueless and ridiculous, the rest of society should agree on not comparing tragedies — especially if they involve Hitler.

    Tatiana is a freshman in Media.

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