Flipping Off the President Doesn’t Make You a Hero

Meet the newest member of The Resistance, a now-unemployed Virginia woman who paid the price for making a profane gesture that went viral on social media.

Juli Briskman flipped President Donald Trump’s motorcade the bird repeatedly last month while riding by on her bicycle. The Commander-in-Chief was returning to the White House after a round of golf, and Briskman sidled up beside the motorcade long enough to share her third-grade insult.

The image of her crude act, shot from behind, went viral. So she figured she should tell her bosses at the marketing firm where she works that it was her in the photograph.

She got fired. The reason? Violating Akima’s “code of conduct policy.” As the Washington Post described the policy:

Covered Social Media Activity that contains discriminatory, obscene malicious or threatening content, is knowingly false, create [sic] a hostile work environment, or similar inappropriate or unlawful conduct will not be tolerated and will be subject to discipline up to an [sic] including termination of employment.

Sounds harsh, right? She didn’t post the pictures online initially. Someone did that on her behalf. She wasn’t on the clock when the incident happened. We also have the right to protest our government in ways that would get us thrown in jail had we attempted them in some countries.

But the narrative is a little more complicated than it might at first appear.

Briskman decided to use the image, captured by a photographer, as her Twitter and Facebook profile shots. In other words, she made her juvenile form of protest the first thing anyone on social media would know about her. Given that her company is involved in securing government contracts, it’s not outlandish to assume that her crude gesture could hurt the company as it attempts to land future contracts.

But there are much larger lessons in play.

Adults should show the country’s president at least a modicum of respect. Yes, President Trump has continued the crude behavior, both on social media and off, that voters saw far too much of on the campaign trail. But need we repeat the old saw, “Two wrongs don’t make a right?”

More importantly, Briskman is the mother of two children. What is she teaching her kids about being civil? Does she think it would be OK for them to flip off their teachers in school when they disagree with them? Evidently so. She said she would do it again if given the chance, and even boasted that it wasn’t the first time she’d flipped off the motorcade.

It might have felt good in the moment, but a parent knows his or her actions serve as a model for their kids. Would she want them to risk their future jobs for some virtue signaling social media infamy? Does she think future employers will take kindly to her antics?

Naturally, social media helped make her a minor celebrity. Her fellow liberals, who cheer every attack on the president, rallied to her side. A GoFundMe page dedicated to Briskman raised more than $17,000 in a single day. She’s clearly relishing her moment as a liberal martyr.

One irony of the Age of Trump is clear. Had liberals responded to Trump’s victory with a clear mind and a sane voice it might have crippled his first year in office.

Instead, liberals immediately launched into a series of mean-spirited protests against the new administration on Day One. The same folks eager to return serial philanderer Bill Clinton to the White House were outraged that Trump didn’t comport himself like a gentleman with the ladies. They knitted vagina hats and hit the streets, sharing some of the most incendiary rhetoric imaginable, including rants from celebrities like Ashley Judd and Madonna.

Remember First Lady Michelle Obama’s famous claim, “When they go low, we go high?” Liberals quickly discarded that approach. Is it any wonder Briskman did what she did given the current climate?

So why did she do it?

“My finger said what I was feeling … I’m angry and I’m frustrated,” she told the press. Heck, we all get angry and frustrated. Most of us process it in far more productive and less immature ways.

She could have used the incident as a teachable moment for her teens. Social media is everywhere. Your behavior has consequences. And, the next time you get “angry and frustrated” why not channel it into something more productive than a crude gesture?

I hope Briskman enjoys her fifteen minutes of fame. The culture is a little more degraded thanks to it.

Image: Juli Briskman

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  • Alicia Westberry

    Seriously??? No, her gesture has no defense, but re-direct the outrage. Where was his security detail? How did she get so close? She could’ve had a loaded gun.

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