An MTV News culture writer used Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’ Tuesday morning appearance before the U.S. Senate Committee as a platform to outrageously mock the senator’s Asian-American grandchild. Sen. Sessions is seeking confirmation as President-Elect Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general.
Posting a picture of the young granddaughter as she sat in the senator’s lap, Ira Madison III tweeted, “Sessions, sir, kindly return this Asian baby to the Toys ‘R’ Us you stole her from.”
After strong and swift backlash from both the Left and the Right about his message, Madison deleted the tweeted — but kept several others up criticizing the senator for, well, for having a mixed-race granddaughter.
"There is no reason for that child to be in his lap in a hearing other than to send an 'I'm not racist message,'" Madison tweeted out. "The girl on Sessions lap is not adopted, it's his granddaughter. Which is not surprising," he said in another tweet.
There is an entirely different reason Sessions' granddaughter was there. She is family, and family accompanied Sessions to the appointment in front of the Senate Committee. In fact, all four of Sessions' granddaughters were in attendance. The senator's daughter, Ruth Sessions, is married to John Walk, who is Asian-American.
In regard to deleting the tweet, Madison said in follow-up posts, "I often tell jokes, but seeing as bringing up Sessions' history of racial hatred of Asians is seen as an attack on his grandchild, I deleted."
There was a time when children were left out of politics, when culture and political writers didn't feel the need to use the family of politicians to push their own agendas, consequences unconsidered. The time was not too long ago. In 2008, when first running for office, President Obama said children should be off the table when it comes to politics.
"I think people's families are off-limits, and people's children are especially off-limits. This shouldn't be part of our politics," he said, according to CNN. The president was speaking about the criticism by many in the media of Sarah Palin and John McCain's familial affairs.
If a conservative writer had conducted himself or herself by the standards of Ira Madison III — serious consequences would await.
For eight years, Barack Obama's children were left alone, his policies and unfulfilled campaign promises taking up most national discussions. However, it appears that when the party ticket is switched — the rules are rewritten.
Now, with President Trump ready to take office, a writer for MTV News for some reason felt entirely comfortable using a child's mixed race heritage as a platform to criticize Sessions.
Even if you believed Sessions harbored any racist feelings and wanted to criticize him for it, when would you ever think it was a good idea to do so through his grandchildren? The answer today is simple — when he's a Republican.
It's not the first time the media has felt completely fine using children as props to propel political causes. On an MSNBC panel, hosted by Melissa Harris-Perry, an adopted grandchild — who happened to be black — of former presidential candidate and governor Mitt Romney was openly mocked on national television. After showing a Romney family picture, panelist Pia Glenn said, "One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn't the same," while comedian Dean Obeidallah used the photo as a way to criticize the Republican Party's perceived diversity problem.
If a conservative writer had conducted himself or herself by the standards of Ira Madison III — serious consequences would await. Criticizing a politician through a mixed-race family member is simply not OK, especially in the age of the internet where children can be exposed to things like this.
No matter their feelings about Trump or any of his Cabinet picks, liberals should heed the advice of their own beloved Barack Obama all the way back in 2008. Otherwise, the hypocrisy will be too blatant for anyone to ignore and 2020 will be an even worse year for them than 2016.