Guest Editorial: Political Joke Gone Too Far?

By ScottsdaleBlogger

With cancel culture as cutthroat as it is, many people need to be even more concerned about the things they may have said in the past. Arizona Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly is continually under the spotlight as a political figure and nevertheless made this mistake.

Two years ago, Mark Kelly was speaking at the Boy Scouts of America, Northern New Jersey Council where a comment was made about his twin brother that is now being criticized as racially insensitive.

His brother Scott, an astronaut like Kelly, spent an extended time at the space station. Intending to make light of a difficult time for his brother, he attempted a joke.

“I think the word hasn’t gotten out how bad it is for him,” Kelly said. “You know, it’s gotten so bad, that we recently had to release him back into the wild,” he continued, describing his brother being affected by his long time in space.

“He’s like halfway between an orangutan and a Howler Monkey. We’ve even changed his name to Rodrigo. He lives in the woods. He lives in Eagle Rock Reservation,” which was in reference to a New Jersey forest reserve and recreational park.

Now you may wonder, why is this being brought to the surface now? Republican businessman Moses Sanchez is your answer.

Unsuccessfully running for Phoenix mayor two years ago, Sanchez relates the scrutiny he received to Mark Kelly’s lack thereof

“He must think people named Rodrigo look like monkeys. Time to move past this type of racism & time for the media to scrutinize Mark Kelly more thoroughly like they would a Republican,” said Sanchez on his Twitter account.

Mark Kelly apologized briefly after he was asked about the comment by the Arizona Republic.

“My brother’s year in space was really hard on him and we tried to bring some light to his difficult ordeal, but this comment does not do that and I apologize and deeply regret it,” Kelly said.

Mark Kelly has some work to do before the election. It will ultimately be up to his voters to forgive and move on or not.

Politics continues to be very racially charged, and mistakes like these add to the negativity. Now more than ever, political figures need to be cautious and supportive of communities that have endured injustice for far too long.