Democrats See Political Gold in Cecil the Lion

279

Would you have guessed that we’d still be talking about Cecil the lion a month after his untimely death? Americans were understandably upset at the news that a Minnesota dentist had illegally shot the protected beast, and the pictures of Walter Palmer posing with his trophy kill inspired predictable disgust. Hunting is one thing; illegal poaching of an endangered species is quite another. Still, it’s surprising to see how long-lasting the outrage has been. Americans have a short attention span when it comes to these things.

And, frankly, enough’s enough. It’s a friggin’ lion. The backlash over this story is out of proportion. There’s a viral, gut-level quality to the story that disguises the fact that it’s a rather frivolous thing to get upset about. At some point, it’s like, get a life.

But Democrats excel at making hay out of emotionally-fueled controversies. This week, several Senate Democrats proposed the Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large Animal Trophies Act. CECIL, for short. Or CECILATA, if you want to spit on all the hard work they did coming up with a catchy name. “Let’s not be cowardly lions when it comes to trophy killings,” said Senator Bob Menendez, the bill’s sponsor. And we’re supposed to take this seriously?

Even some liberals have grown weary of the Cecil saga. Twitter erupted with criticism after a $1 million light display projected images of Cecil and other fallen animals atop the Empire State Building. “I’m personally going to start wearing a lion costume when I leave my house so if I get shot, people will care,” said writer Roxana Gay. Others jumped on the bandwagon, accusing Americans of giving Cecil’s death more attention than black victims of police brutality.

While it’s always amusing to watch liberals wring their hands over which cause to care about most, this is an absurd reaction. You couldn’t turn on your television for six months without hearing about Ferguson, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Cecil may be enjoying the spotlight right now, but let’s not pretend like “hands up, don’t shoot” was relegated to the back pages of the newspaper.

Also relevant is the way the left tore into Rush Limbaugh when he made similar comments. After watching Jimmy Kimmel get choked up over Cecil’s death, Limbaugh wondered why no one seemed to care this much about the babies aborted by Planned Parenthood. In an op-ed, EJ Martini said, “Trying to compared levels of public outrage over the death of Cecil the lion with our reaction to the secret video tapes of Planned Parenthood executives is ludicrous.”

And maybe it is. But if that’s ludicrous, then surely it’s just as silly to compare Cecil to Black Lives Matter. After all, there’s no evidence to suggest Cecil was trying to kill Walter Palmer when he was shot. That alone marks a fairly significant difference between Cecil and Mike Brown.

The Cecil story will undoubtedly fade from the headlines over the next month, only to be replaced by something of similar importance. Another controversy. Another sensationalized tale. The outrage machine keeps turning.