South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was the subject of much scorn by the president of the AFL-CIO union in her state. At a retirement party for president Donna Dewitt, Haley's face was pinned to a piñata and beaten by Dewitt. Did the AFL-CIO go too far, though, in posting a video of the beating?
Dewitt retired this weekend, after serving as president of the AFL-CIO in South Carolina for two years. It was no secret that Dewitt is not fond of the governor, but things took a somewhat of a violent turn after a video was posted of her beating a piñata with Haley's image on it. Though Dewitt has received criticism from the leaders of the national American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations- of the largest union leaders in the nation- and the public at large, she has said she does not regret her actions.
"It was all fun and games, and there was certainly no ill intent," Dewitt told the Huffington Post. "Guys who know me know we've had to fight the governor and her comments on unions. She's been taking whacks at us for a couple of years. We could have played pin the tail on the donkey and put [Haley's] face on the donkey," she noted. "That would have suited me fine."
When the video was posted on a Facebook page, people began to react with much criticism.
"While it was meant as fun, there is absolutely no place for that kind of joke in a conversation that is extremely serious about how to rebuild our middle class and our country," AFL-CIO spokeswoman Alison Omens said in a statement.
"There's plenty to talk about in Gov. Haley's awful record. We do not believe that's an appropriate joke— working people deserve a better conversation," she added.
The video comes at a time of great tension between the middle class and government leaders. Yet it is important to remember how much influence the idea of violence can have on a national level. Just last year Representative Gabby Giffords was gunned down by a man attending a small gathering. The media partly blamed the shooting on the escalation of violent talk by government officials, including figures such as Sarah Palin and Sharron Angle.
It is only fair to state that the use of violence in any manner against an elected official may be considered influential and dangerous.
"This is extremely disturbing. The principle of it all, laughing at batting a head, leads to the real thing," notes Huffington Post user Linda Welch McQueeney.
"There is no place for that in civil public discourse, and that video no more represents the people of South Carolina than union bosses represent our workers," Haley's spokesman Rob Godfrey commented.
Watch the video below: