In what may be the single most vicious commentary that I have read in recent memory, HBO host Bill Maher said Friday that he is “glad” billionaire David Koch, a conservative activist, is dead and added that he hoped “the end was painful.” I strongly disagreed with Koch’s view of climate change and his anti-environmental stances. However, I cannot imagine saying such a thing about someone because I disagree with his heart-felt convictions. Koch was committed to a set of principles that Maher can disagree with but to celebrate a painful death is truly breathtaking.
Maher stated on air: “Yesterday David Koch, of the zillionaire Koch brothers, died of prostate cancer. I guess I’m going to have to re-evaluate my low opinion of prostate cancer . . . He was 79, but his family says they wish he could live longer, but at least he lived long enough to see the Amazon catch fire.” He added “Condolences poured in from all the politicians he owned, and mourners have been asked in lieu of flowers to just leave their car engines running. As for his remains, he’s been asked to be cremated and have his ashes blown into a child’s lungs.”
I do not object to the latter part of that statement about car engines and his remains as fair game for a comedian. Koch was a polarizing public figure. However, it takes an utter lack of humanity and decency to celebrate someone’s cancer. Imagine if a conservative celebrated the return of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s cancer. Would the response be equally muted in the media?