By now, everyone has taken seen and absorbed the monstrosity of Kathy Griffin’s beheaded Trump skit, enough so to cause such a reaction for CNN, known for fueling opposition to Trump, to fire her.
This may seem like a small victory for those against the Leftist promotion of violence and Trump opposition, but in the long term, one should recognize this behavior is systemic, not just anecdotal. It is not just an incident by lone wolves like Kathy or groups such as “Antifa” and the like, but rather an actual ideology and accepted political activism that is not questioned or condemned. The criticism of Progressive Leftism and its policies, its methods, etc. are very easy now and are obvious by all, even sympathizers themselves, but they only go so far. One should think about how it had gotten this far and how it has been able to reach such a scale. The uncomfortable answer is that long ago, both sides of the Progressive and Conservative political spectrums have accepted violence in one way or another as a solution to many ills in the modern world. This is not just a statement to please all sides, but an objective reality that is grounded in fact.
I will start with one icon, and that is the comedian George Carlin. George Carlin, well known for his acts between the 1960s and early 2000s, had gained much success as a standup comedian winning approval of both sides. He is celebrated from the Left for his viciousness towards religion and the Catholic Church, conservative tax policies, praise for abortion, etc. and from the Right for his stand against political correctness, global warming skepticism, Leftist hypocrisy, etc. (he was a man of many colors). However, after looking back at some of his performances as of late, I could not help but notice one common theme that he expressed at least more than a few times in all his acts his entire career; his constant praise of violence. Like Kathy Griffin, while not illustrating it as graphically, has always mused the use of violence in his commentary. At the time people could defend it as a joke but now it seems hard to hide behind the veil of comedy reviewing this content.
Much of this was applauded, praised, requoted, spread, and accepted into American secular culture. For example, in one of his acts called “You Are All Diseased”, the beginning of his act started off with what he termed a simple evaluation of life. He stated to the crowd that terrorism is nothing to be afraid of, but rather be praised. To see bodies blown apart and buildings destroyed are to him a “form of entertainment”, which the audience clapped in praise (not so much laughter). And after vicious commentary of trivial things such as cigar use and Harley Davidson themed diners, he moved on to what he called a “positive” part in his act to comfort his audience in making sure his show “was not all negative”.
What is this positive part of his act? Here it is – imagining a public brawl of hundreds of thousands of bulked up men thrown into a pit “beating the s%&* out of each other” and for any survivors, put them on pedestals and shoot them in the head. Again, cheers and applause, but not so much laughter. That was the main target of violence as well in his act – rich white men. You will have trouble finding a skit of his where he does not demonize this group, mostly a figment of the Leftist imagination of how they characterize white men in the West, America in particular.
Now, this is an icon who passed through the decades spreading this fantasy. There are many others as well. These are people who helped secularize the culture, normalize violence, and slowly but surely moved it into politics. The irony is that even after all these examples, much of the Left still considers themselves “peaceful” due to their opposition to the Vietnam War (which only gained opposition after being revealed by reports of how much a tragedy it was on the ground). Decades later, America participated (even initiated in a way) the Gulf War, the bombing of Serbia, the Iraq war, the bombing of Yemen, the supporting of Islamist groups with the support of both sides, and of course the college campus riots, stabbings, and now city center brawls of political parties.
Kathy Griffin’s beheaded Trump head is not a lone wolf act of horror, but a cultural phenomenon built up and accepted over the decades. Once we as a society, particularly Catholics, recognize this fully, progress made to stem this polarization may start to bear fruit.
ImageSource: Flickr, Greg Hernandez