Kathy Griffin's photo of the severed head of President Donald J. Trump is just the latest example of the decline of civility and decency in our political dialogue. The University of Alaska Anchorage refused to take down a painting showing Trump's severed head in a faculty painting competition; imagine the outrage if that painting had showed Hillary Clinton's severed head instead. The political left is far less tolerant of right-winged speech on campus, a glaring hypocrisy that helps fuel our current culture war standoff.
Both sides of the political debate contribute to this lack of civility, with the chief culprit being our own Agent Orange President, who came to office on a toxic wave of anger he fueled with lies, insults, and pandering to the basest elements of his base. Trump is simply the symptom of a larger disease: a widening lack of decency and respect in our country for people who don't share our views. This disease is wonderfully epitomized by the fact that most Americans have no clue what the beautiful 6 letter word "Comity" means (showing respect and consideration to others) for the simple reason that many have ceased to see it in their lives (here's a Komodia video mocking our lack of knowledge of comity). In contrast, Eskimos have 40+ words for snow, because of the importance of snow in their lives.
Our nation is caught in a downward spiral of "When they go low, we go lower." A Republican candidate for Congress body slams a reporter who asked a question about the abysmally unpopular TrumpCare and is then elected to serve in the US Congress. In response to the body slam heard round the USA (by recording), Fox commentator Laura Ingraham mocked the reporter who was body slammed and many on the right justified the slamming. Such anti-media attitudes reflect the broad myth that all mainstream media is fake news, a massive, evil conspiracy not to be trusted at any time, when in fact mainstream media, despite its liberal bias, is consistently the most accurate means of reporting the truth compared to the alternatives on the left and right. At the same time, folks on the left denounced the violence by now Congressman Greg Gianforte while forgetting all those on the left who gleefully applauded the punching of Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer and encouraged more such behavior.
Until someone wins an election while upholding standards of decency and civility, this trend will continue. On Monday May 29, 2017, tensions between Republicans and Democrats boiled over on the floor of the Texas Legislature over the crackdown on cities giving sanctuary to illegal immigrants. Komodia hopes that our joke video Funny Foreign Lawmakers Brawl! Is US Congress Next? remains a joke, but it is coming far too close to reality.
The good news is that our nation has seen worse in our history and we've recovered. There was a certain little event called the Civil War where civility broke down more than before, and there has been worse partisan rancor and dirty tricks at other times as well. The key to recovery is to have a critical mass of Americans commit to a basic code of conduct in how we interact in our politics and in our lives, especially on social media. It is encouraging that Griffin was widely criticized on the mainstream media, the left and right for her behavior, and that was fired immediately by CNN. Griffin also stepped forward with a sincere and open apology, epitomized by her lack of make-up. How great would it be if our toxic President occasionally acknowledged his errors? Instead he invites Ted Nugent, who famously called for President Obama to be hanged, into the Oval Office. President Trump also publicly praised that nutcase Alex Jones of InfoWars, a man who has spread such hateful lies like the Sandy Hook Massacre being a hoax.
# In the end, Kathy Griffin erred by breaking the Hippocratic Oath of Comedy: "Above All, Do No Unfunny." Griffin specifically acknowledged this fact in her apology. If comedians simply focused on being funny first and political second, our body politic would benefit. Even better if comedians consciously sought to create "safe areas" for sharing differences of opinion, even if they held strong views either way.
Until then, Komodia will continue to be the voice of one cackling hysterically in the wilderness. #Comedy4Comity
#PartisanPolitics #PoliticalCorrectness #KathyGriffin #FakeNews #MainstreamMedia #Gianforte
In physics, we all know the law that every action creates an equal and opposite reaction. Politics is not supposed to be an exact science, but with respect to this law of physics it is. Last Fall America elected the biggest political troll in the race, and his opponents are increasingly adopting the effective nastiness of Trump Troll style.
In a brilliant piece on Late Night with Seth Meyers "Trump Faces the Fallout from Firing James Comey" Meyers lampooned the troll in Trump with the above graphic. The piece also noted how our press has begun to hyperventilate over Trump's erratic behavior, such as when press helicopters followed Comey's motorcade over an LA Highway on the way to the airport after he was fired "because nothing says the press is keeping calm like filming a car on an LA freeway." Meyers also showed how some reporters were literally gasping for breath as they rushed from the White House to tell the news of Comey's firing.
When we troll, we appeal to our political base with facile extremes and fail to make the lucid arguments that ultimately win the day and steer our country right. Like this video argument by The Atlantic: America Needs an Independent Investigation on Russia—Now.
The question then: how long will the trolls rule America?
are "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold." -- "Second Coming" by W.B. Yeats.
Things do indeed fall apart because moderates in the political center of the USA won't fight for their country. They won't fight because moderates are like W.B. Yeats, who was an Irish poet.
Because moderates are pussies.
OK, we admit we picked the most foppish photo of Yeats we could find on the internet. We are joking of course and have a lot of political moderates in Komodia, and others with strong views on one side or the other who still believe we all ought to play by the same rules. But the point remains: Why do folks on the extremes seem to be the nastiest while the folks in the middle seem to be all nice and polite to the point of being weak? As Rebecca Nelson said in her outstanding article "The War on Partisanship," there are dozens of organizations in the USA trying to promote decency in politics and fighting partisan politics but the are, "to put it mildly, out of step with the zeitgeist of U.S. politics."
Donald Trump got elected after running one of the nastiest political campaigns in US history, with upwards of 70% of his statements being deemed false or partially false by independent fact checkers. And soon after he won, many Trump opponents jettisoned the Michelle Obama mantra of "When they go low, we go high" and quite literally embraced the mantra of "When they go low, we go lower" as in a December Huffington Post article.
So now the new definition of "moderate" needs to be focused not just on politics, but on whether you believe that the dangers posed by people you disagree with politically justify using nastiness and falsehoods. Both sides are increasingly using those tactics (though not equally).
Which side are you on? Are you a moderate in the center or on the extreme of using low tactics? Komodia is very much in the center (or centre as Yeats would say) and we'll use the power of comedy to fight the good fight.
The next line of the Yeats poem is "Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world." When facts are no longer facts, when rules of political and social media civility are routinely violated, when Americans forget what unites them, then anarchy reigns. Fight against the extremes who justify jerk behavior in our politics and online. Fight against anarchy. Get angry. And then be decent, civil, and truthful in how you fight.
#partisanpolitics #Comedy4Comity #AngryModerate #StarkRavingRational