Hours after the news of Robin Williams’s death broke, the White House issued a heartfelt and sincere statement.
Major General Harold Green was killed in action several days ago, in Afghanistan. The White House was slow to respond to the death of a high-ranking servicemember, and has not yet posted a statement on the White House website.
Most people don’t know Gen. Greene’s name, while just about everyone knew Williams’s. He was so adept at shifting among adult-themed comedy, serious acting, and family-oriented silliness that most people have a favorite Robin Williams movie or appearance.
The Facebook and Twitter tributes back that up: Williams’s death is a trending topic. And the Obama White House has a keen sense of zeitgeist (one that makes their apparent, frequent tone deafness tough to understand). The White House statement on Williams passing will make it into news feeds and be retweeted, so speaking out on his death – and doing so quickly – becomes a priority.
Treating death this way is unfair – not only to Maj. Gen. Greene, but to Williams, who deserves to be more than social media fodder for a politician.