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Mitch McConnell

Glitch McConnell? Senator's frightening health moment shouldn't be TikTok fodder.

I understand some of Sen. McConnell's political maneuverings are unpopular for some. I'm not here to deny or contradict this, but that should not give anyone permission to degrade his humanity.

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp
Louisville Courier Journal

During a news conference last week, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell suddenly stopped speaking and stood silently for 28 seconds. He was then escorted away from a lectern by his Republican colleagues.

Now, those frightening moments for the Kentucky senator are being used again and again on social media in memes and reels that are supposed to be funny. He's even being called "Glitch McConnell" on TikTok.

Is this who we have become?

I am extremely uncomfortable with minimizing what appeared to be a serious health episode for Sen. McConnell for a laugh. Regardless of whether or not you disagree with the senator's politics, he is still a fellow human being. America has somehow allowed divisive politics to mean that it’s OK to reduce those we disagree with to caricature villains. We think we can treat the opposition as less than human. That's not OK.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., returns to his news conference on July 26, 2023, after the 81-year-old froze at the microphones for almost 30 seconds.

Don't degrade our humanity. Leave that to Trump.

I understand some of McConnell's political maneuverings are unpopular for some. I’m not here to deny or contradict this, but that should not give anyone permission to degrade his humanity. 

It’s hypocritical. How do we move forward in solutions for a more equitable society when we cannot even live up to the task ourselves?

Republican voters want Donald Trump.And his vice president? How about more Trump?

We are all human beings. We watched Donald Trump mock a disabled reporter, regularly reduce women to 1-10 rankings and disparage marginalized people. Some Americans were horrified by this behavior.

We can't have it both ways.

Do unto others ...

I teach my children that they are responsible for their own behavior. This includes their responses to other people’s behavior.

If it is OK to be cruel because someone “deserves it,” where does the line get drawn? Who gets to decide who deserves dignity? Who deserves kindness?  Who deserves grace?

Where past and present coexist:White House furniture is America's living history

We all deserve dignity. We all deserve basic kindness. We all deserve grace, and your behavior should not dictate my own.

I choose to behave in a way that aligns with my value set regardless of yours. Period. There is no pass given for meanness because I don’t like you or because you don't agree with me. 

Love him or hate him, Mitch McConnell is the longest-serving Senate party leader. His window may be closing, but he has chosen to serve his country in politics for as long as he can.

I’m not here to defend that choice. I am here to say regardless of what happens to him in the public eye, remember to scrutinize what matters – his contribution to American politics and public policy. There is plenty to mine there. 

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp

Social media plays that use his medical frailties as the butt of jokes are beyond distasteful, and it undermines the important work that must be done to lift marginalized voices and create a more equitable society. 

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is the opinion editor of the Louisville Courier Journal, where this column first published. She can be reached via email at or on social media @WriterBonnie

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