Stop Wasting Time on Jussie Smollett

Ryan Lau | @RyanLau71R

For two months now, headlines of Jussie Smollett have broken across the nation. From stories that a violent Trump supporter attacked him to the eventual revelation that he faked the attack, we saw a slew of obnoxious generalizations. The Empire actor went from being another supporting cast member to a national sensation, from Twitter martyrdom to disgrace.

In recent developments, police charged him with 16 counts of lying about a hate crime. He has since pleaded innocent and authorities have dropped all charges. But now, President Trump has declared that the FBI will look into the case further.

The nation is now witnessing our president needlessly involving himself in what is becoming one of the most drawn-out publicity stunts in recent memory. Why are we still giving Jussie Smollett the attention that he seemingly craves?

Jussie Smollett Didn’t Hurt Anyone

The conversation would be slightly different if Smollett had actually committed a hate crime against someone else. However, this is not the case. The stunt, which involved paying two brothers to pretend that they were Trump supporters attacking him, led to nothing that Smollett did not consent to. Moreover, it caused no legitimate harm to anyone but him.

Just to note, this is in no way a defense of what Jussie Smollett did or what he stands for. The act was morally outrageous and he should feel a great deal of shame for what he has done. His actions disrespected the actual victims of brutal attacks that exist in this country and are a stranger to no major political group. Smollett fully deserves any occupational consequences coming his way, including uncertainty over whether or not Empire will extend his contract for future seasons. He further deserves the media backlash over his lies. Throwing people into prison over a lie, though, is frankly barbaric.

There is absolutely no need for an FBI investigation on Jussie Smollett. The public knows exactly what happened, and so does he (despite showing an unwillingness to admit it). Trying to throw him in jail for deceit is entirely unamerican; like it or not, Smollett is a free man whose actions harmed nobody. So, any legal consequences that he may face are for victimless crimes. Though he did a morally reprehensible thing, it is immensely important in this day and age to maintain freedom for all, even freedom to do things that some may find objectionable. Had he hurt anyone but himself, this would be a different story.

A Waste of Time and Resources

It’s no great secret that the Trump administration and his Congress aren’t prioritizing the budget. With the national debt skyrocketing through $22 trillion recently, the country simply does not have money to pay for meaningless expenditures. The Smollett case is nothing if not meaningless.

However, by continually referencing the case, politicians and media corporations alike are only reigniting the fire. Though nobody but Jussie Smollett knows his true motives, it appears highly probable that he either desired attention or wanted to smear Trump. If the former is true, then the actor is getting exactly what he wanted. Though his actions were despicable, everybody already knows this.

A part of the reason for the investigation is looking into whether or not there was any money or foul play involved in the decision to suddenly drop charges. But once again, what will the results be? If the FBI finds him guilty, they will only continue to levy more charges against him. Smollett, though, still will not have done anything wrong. Is there anything that deeply wrong with trying to avoid prison for a “crime” that didn’t harm anyone?

Focus on Real Issues

The evidence suggests that Smollett faked the attack, and an FBI investigation may or may not prove this. It also may or may not prove any allegations of foul play. Regardless, it isn’t worth it. A country that aids countries that bomb children (and does a fair deal of bombing itself), has a police force that prevents people from feeding the homeless, and imprisons hundreds of thousands for possessing marijuana has no business wasting time playing games with a Fox actor. There are serious problems to resolve in America, and this is not one of them.

At this point, Jussie Smollett has already received a punishment; his future career is uncertain and he has become a national spectacle in a negative way. But every time his name comes up, he garners even more publicity that he doesn’t deserve. After two months of this, America gets the point. After all, an investigation will only create even more coverage for a man who probably committed a crime that definitely has no victim. It’s time to leave Smollett and this case behind and start shifting our attention to more important issues.

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