Has democracy decapitated respect and decency?

Kathy Griffin

By Popoy Del R. Cartanio

Feeling like I am putting a grandson to sleep with a bedtime story and avoiding the Once Upon A Time formula, I began the hypnosis with a yawn . . .

I read long ago in some libraries, about the year 399 before Jesus Christ was born and 30 years after when He was crucified to death for blasphemy for allegedly claiming He was King of the Jews, and or for claiming He is the Son of God; and that was a very long interregnum, a 72 year old Philosopher with an new born son, more than 300 members majority of the Athens Supreme (Peoples) Court had sentenced Socrates to die by poison because he allegedly poisoned the minds of the youth of Greece. Both Jesus and Socrates never wrote a line of their thoughts, never physically hurt or killed a fellowman.

Jesus and Socrates were put to death for blabbering, for yakking and yakking; Jesus–with my piety, my due respect, love and adoration, I said–croaked by the wooden cross because there was yet no freedom of religion; Socrates trembled and spasmed to his last breath because there were yet no blah blah journos, no freedom of Expression, all because THERE WAS YET NO DEMOCRACY. Much much later a son of Demosthenes was said to have provided impetus to Democracy to be hailed after 2000 years to have sired, to be the macho father of political correctness.

True enough the grandson was snoring before I can conjecture that in every democratic country only 2 per cent of its population–politicians or criminals–followed like sheeps by a majority can make a mess of democracy. Which means that only two of them can make 10 cave dwellers create a mess of democracy. For the here and now a nation of a hundred million population, 2 million may appear TOO MUCH (or two little) to molest or assault DEMOCRACY. But the grandson is already asleep and in REM dreamland, so I must turn to writing something that is not neither here nor there.

In the USA spreading to the rest of the free world, there was ruckus and rumpus and correctly much ado about a decapitating thing in the American and the wannabe its mirror the world press. I did not see it or read the captions but a lady comedian Kathy Griffin was said to have held by her hand a replica of the bloody decapitated head of incumbent US President Donald J. Trump. I deemed it extra informative to read intensively readers’ conversations after the news piece without joining it.

I read vitriols. There was it seemed to me plenty of damning, lynching, angriest comments. It feels like symbolically decapitating somebody is like a sure way to figuratively decapitate oneself. And the consequence could be literally worst than literal death to the decapitator’s career and who put the blame on the still living decapitated and his family. So uncommonly sensical, pros and cons, pros against cons were at each other’s necks. And I searched for more reasons WHY.

I read with interest the reasons or lack of it for DEFENDING the act itself–of showing to the world a replica of a bloody decapitated head of the elected leader of the most powerful nation in the world. Both sides had advanced reasons and for what purposes. There was to me intellectual condemnation as well as emotional ignorance in the pros and cons of the issue. And I thought both sides regardless of their vested interest fueling their arguments, they missed the ONE BEST WAY to arrive at and explain the tragi-comedic backlash against the lady comedian.

JUST IMAGINE or picture in the mind two activists holding placards. A white man holding a placard of a black president (President Barack Obama) with a rope (hangman’s noose) round his (Obama’s) head and another placard held by a white woman with a white president’s (Trump’s) bloody decapitated head. ARE THEY (the event) THE SAME. Should one placard defend and justify the existence of the other? Should the event merit the same response of approbation or condemnation? Are the placards within the context of politically correct interpretation of freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution? Did both activist BREAK any law? Which of the two placards will appear to the people as more heinous, blood curdling ? Which of the placard NOWADAYS as symbolic punishment for wrong doing IS CONSTITUTIONAL (like they hanged President Saddam Hussein) ? What are the intentions of the persons holding the placards?

If decapitation is biblical, who was the first young strip teaser who shed her seven veils in exchange for the decapitated head of St. John the Baptist? If decapitation and hanging are history? Is the guillotine forgotten now? Are the French aristocracy whose bloods that soaked the streets of Place de la Revolution in Paris forgotten now? Why was it called the REIGN OF TERROR? Terror Eh? Which terrorizes horrifically: photos of those hanged by decision of the courts or those photos held of bloody decapitated heads of nobody’s held by a masked man with a curved knife in his hand? Presidents-elect and sworn to govern and serve 327 million people who are alive and not convicted of any crime do not deserve to be hanged or decapitated even if only on placards.

Somebody in TSOH should write about how freedom of expression might decapitate democracy. And how Democracy can decapitate RESPECT and DECENCY with mere political correctness.

Dale Carnegie said that in the dictionary “Alone” is the saddest word. In TSOH, Popoy says “decapitate” is the heinous and most horrific word even if applied to animals that people eat like chickens, pigs, goats, dogs, carabaos or cattle. But on a piece written in 2009 he averred Martial Law effectively decapitates Democracy. ****


41 Responses to “Has democracy decapitated respect and decency?”
  1. There is a law about threatening the POTUS, the offense is class E felony punishable with fines and /or up to five years of imprisonment:


    Kathy Griffin’s act was not funny. It was done in bad taste and she deserved to be admonished for crossing the red line of civility. She said it herself, she went too far.

    Decapitation now-a-days is often attributed to shady elements such as Abu’s and ISIS. Kathy Griffin knows better.

    Democracy is about the power of the people (In Greek, demos= people and cratos = power) and as with any power, it comes with the responsibility to handle it wisely and prudently.

    • NHerrera says:

      The un-presidential words/ tweets of Duterte and Trump when considered in the context of norms of behavior of Leaders of a Democracy, I would put as the equivalent of Kathy Griffin’s “decapitation” of Trump.

      • NHerrera says:

        Thanks Popoy for the blog which uses Kathy Griffin as a very apt item to develop the essay.

        • popoy says:

          You are welcome NHerrera. But I have something short to say about Pres Duterte.

          • popoy says:

            MAHABA ANG PISE KO KAY PRES DUTERTE. As aggie extension worker, like a soldier armed with Ho Chi Minh’s credo (live, eat, sleep, sing, laugh, and cry with the people), I got my baptism of fire in Western Visayas; much later I learned more of the East (gateway of typhoons) and the deep south, the land of promise, melting pot for middle Ph and surprisingly of the Northerners too.

            I heard farmers–the real people and their leaders speak their longings and politics. That’s why presumptuously and with temerity I think I am I know them. Kaya kahit Tagalog at taga Luzon MAHABA ang pise ko para unawain sila, magsasaka man o Presidente. I experienced these Visayan Kababayans had patience to make me understand them at the same time as they attempted to understand me.

            Pres Duterte speaks not with the fluency of a writer of Liwayway or Bulaklak or Filipino Komiks. His sentences are sometimes (most of the time, Eh?) are mere phrases. A sentence that is only a predicate, or that’s only a subject like “tangina”, 6C (sexy), patyon (kill?) . I may be a dumbo or stone deaf but times still there are I need to think twice or thrice to understand statements without a subject and/or a predicate.

            If this is very Filipino, the Babel of the masses, we really communicate faster. Never mind grammar. But kwidaw, that’s NOT ACCEPTABLE to the catch-all new religion: POLITICAL CORRECTNESS.

            It will do well for Malacanang info fountainhead and spinners if they can complete the sentences of the President, repaint and redo his surrealism canvas into bucolic Amorsolos. In real life and not just paintings.

            • popoy says:

              I also copy and paste but I don’t get paid for it. NEVER. EVER. I only do it if the material is relevant to and supportive of what I have just said or written. I said here mahaba ang pise ko kay Pres Duterte. So read on to give advice how long should I cut my “twine” on Pres. Duterte. My “twine” is limited only and goes no farther than the ROLE and RULE of law that exempts no one, NOT even Pres Duterte. Excerpt of the news only:

              “Duterte calls out ex-Marawi mayor linked to siege.”
              Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News
              Posted at Jun 09 2017 07:53 PM | Updated as of Jun 09 2017 08:18 PM

              MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday threatened to have a former Marawi City Mayor killed for his alleged involvement in the ongoing siege in the conflict-stricken city.
              Speaking before troops in Sultan Kudarat, Duterte singled out former Marawi City Mayor Omar Solitario Ali, whose name is on the arrest order released by the Department of National Defense this week.

              The list names 186 terrorists, spies, couriers and other associates linked to attacks in Marawi City and other parts of Mindanao.

              The President recalled his recent phone call with Ali, a member of his political party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino- Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), where he gave the latter a mouthful.
              “Sabi ko, p*******, ano ka ba? Kampi ka sa gobyerno o kalaban tayo? Kasi sabi ko pinapahuli ka ni [Defense Secretary Delfin] Lorenzana, p**** i**, ipapatay talaga kita,” Duterte said in a speech before soldiers at a military camp in Sultan Kudarat.
              Ali’s brother, Fajad Salic, was arrested Wednesday on rebellion charges. Salic, also a former Marawi City mayor, was also included in the arrest order.

              Duterte said he had told Ali to first clear his name before Defense Secretary and martial law administrator Delfin Lorenzana before they could continue communicating with each other.
              “Sabi ko, kung ma-areglo mo si [Lorenzana], tapos ma-clear mo ‘yung pangalan mo, hindi ka talaga kasali diyan sa p**** i**** gulo na ‘yan, bago pa tayo mag-usap,” he said.
              In the arrest orders, Lorenzana said members of terrorist group committed rebellion by “publicly taking arms against the duly constituted authorities for the purpose of removing Mindanao from the territory of the Government of the Philippines” and attempting to place the island under the control of international terror group Islamic State.”

              The personalities were also subject to arrest for “indiscriminately killing, kidnapping, perpetuating bombings in Marawi City and some parts of Mindanao, and sowing terror in the populace,” the document read.


      • The American public are in agreement with you. His poll/survey numbers reflect that fact. The netizens from both aisles do not let him get away with his “unpresidential tweets/words either. Most of the checks and balances work in America. The President is admonished whenever he puts his foot in his mouth. He is in hot water at di siya sinasanto.

        There is a continuum to every freedom and rights. Every citizen has to know the line on each side of the continuum.

    • sonny says:

      JP, politics and religion, per conventional wisdom, are nearly always hot buttons. For me, realizing this has been ‘agony’ especially since the Obama days and now, Trump. Public discourse has fast become no-man’s land. My coping mechanism is to ask frequently, is this just a tempest in a teapot or the eye of the storm. SM (social media) seems to be morphing into the real SM (sado-masochism) since it is almost impossible to hide.

      • I agree with your view on politics and religion but SOMEBODY has to ask the difficult questions and speak truth to power. Maybe we can employ the old cliche for guidance when faced with political or religious dilemma: ” What would Jesus do”?

  2. popoy says:

    Oh God, so sorry I meant 2 from (of) 100 cavemen. Am getting really old. Utak lang ng Kalabaw ang hindi tumatanda.

  3. edgar lores says:

    1. I googled the photo. It was sick.

    2. At times like this, one wonders about:

    2.1. The proportionality of responses (as NHerrera has)
    2.2. The attendant issue of freedom of speech
    2.3. Whether a photo is a document that may pose a threat to the American president

    3. Taking each point backward:

    3.1. Yes, a photo is a document.

    3.2. Yes, Kathy Griffin has the freedom of speech to criticize the President.

    3.2.1. I find it strange though that U.S. Code 871, as provided by Juana, speaks of threats that are conveyed by mail. Is the Internet a letter carrier? Yes, I would say so… or my emails would not be delivered or received.

    3.2.2. Therefore, Kathy’s opinion is clearly circumscribed by law.

    3.3. Finally, the proportionality of response. This is the hard one.

    3.3.1. I may decline to answer as I do not want a visit from the Secret Service!

    3.3.2. However, Popoy poses the riddle of the placard-bearing activists, and I will admit that my reaction is that the act of the Obama placard activist is more heinous. Therefore, the perceived characters of the presidents make a difference.

    3.3.3. What is the reason for Code 871? The President, no matter his character, embodies the State, and the State has a right to self-defense. I will further note that the State may depose of the President through impeachment. But while the President is still President, he deserves respect.

    3.3.4. Hmm. I am not sure I will hold myself to that conclusion as I think about another President.

    • NHerrera says:

      edgar, again I appreciate your thoughts on the matter of the “proportionality of response” to act(s) of another. I believe, that is an important matter.

      If I may, I want to add to the discussion. We now have an accumulation of items issuing out of the mouth/ tweets of Trump which has been shown to be false and widely divisive not only from the standpoint of an average American, but worldwide. If we put these altogether, Kathy Griffin’s decapitation item may still be out of taste and may verge on the criminal from existing US laws, such as cited by JP; but I believe from an academic viewpoint this is debatable:

      * the impact of the many divisive things caused by Trump affecting a lot of people, not only Americans; as against

      * the wild response of Kathy Griffin affecting the same number (?) affected by Trump.

      Who has done the bigger damage? Not to mention ethical and moral norms for a person in their respective positions:

      * President of the US of A
      * Comedienne

      • edgar lores says:

        From the viewpoint of ethics, which I struggle with, who has caused greater harm?

        No doubt Trump has done greater harm. Griffin has committed an act of lese majesty. Trump has committed many murders on the bodies of truth not to mention hasten global warming.

        And your other point is well taken as well, the fact that Griffin is a comedienne. We expect comedians to prick our illusions and blast our idols, and say and do outrageous things.

        This stunt was simply declared out of bounds, partly for legal reasons, partly as a matter of poor taste. Popoy is right that Griffith is more Salome than virtuous Judith. [Reference: Judith Beheading Holofernes.]

        Perhaps Trump’s comeuppance will come from another direction? Comey’s?

      • popoy says:

        “Who has done the bigger damage? Not to mention ethical and moral norms for a person in their respective positions:
        * President of the US of A
        * Comedienne”

        I feel like, I can’t answer the question without sounding smart alecky. Bigger or biggest damage? TIME WILL TELL, Tiyak Yun, unless there’s immediate impeachment of Trump or imprisonment of Griffin as duelling sword persons..

        Damage to whom? the country or the protogonists? Why ask the question? So what’s important about the differences of opinion? Parang Socratic exchange na ito. Mamaya baka magkapikonan tayo dito. Meron bang PIKON dito sa TSOH? Hah, hah, hah! Eh.

    • popoy says:

      “3.3.2. However, Popoy poses the riddle of the placard-bearing activists, and I will admit that my reaction is that the act of the Obama placard activist is more heinous. Therefore, the perceived characters of the presidents make a difference.”

      I do ask questions but try hard to de-personalize musings and analysis. In the world stage of opinion (international Eh) the pitfalls of racialism could be lying in ambush by the next corner. On Obama and Trump, what’s done is done to accept or to undo concerning means employed towards ends. Placard holders could be society’s somebody or nobody– democracy’s wheel-cog or nuisance.

      ” the act of the Obama placard activist is more heinous.” Far fetch analogy may be: The singing singer not the song then? Got it! Edgar L’s point is it’s BOTH the singer and his song. GOOD JOB, if I may say so, Edgar.

  4. NHerrera says:

    As long as we are talking of “decapitating” democracy, this is not quite off-topic.

    The two former and present (?) great democracies — US and UK — had their leaders virtually near-decapitated:

    * Trump was dealt a missile, though not quite nuclear-tipped, by former FBI Director Comey at the Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing which starred Comey — wherein both Republican and Democrat Committee members, though asking mild questions aligned more or less with their parties, were generally vouching for Comey’s integrity. Notable were the statesmen-like opening statements and questions of Republican Chair Burr, and Democrat Vice Chair Warner, who both took the lead in vouching for Comey’s integrity.

    But then the recently hired private lawyer of Trump, after an hour or two after the public airing portion of the hearing, expectedly countered with a short “He said, she said” statement with no questions entertained after the statement. (Problem here is the credibility of the protagonists to such as me who is not a diehard follower of the two. I believe from a TSH’s view, Comey has the better credibility — perhaps a great understatement. Another point, the personal lawyer delivered something that may have been crafted by Whitehouse lawyers, so why the private lawyer? Is it possible Trump did not trust the Whitehouse lawyers to craft such a message?)

    Interesting video clips I saw, after the fact. I was hoping to get a recorded streaming of the full-public portion of the hearing but unsuccessful in my search. (I will be glad if somebody at TSH can point me to such a link.)

    * At the other ranch — meaning at UK — the snap election called by the PM May to strengthen her hand on the Brexit negotiation was also dealt a blow. From a pre-election majority of 331 MPs, a number above the threshold of 326, she lost more after the snap election with her party MPs now numbering only 316.

    Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

  5. karlgarcia says:

    Hi Popoy,
    I found an article about Kathy Griffin and the Vanishing of Argument, and below are the exerpts.


    “What is most striking to me in all of this is the obvious lack of anything resembling rational argument. Students are not posing counter-positions, marshaling evidence, drawing logical conclusions, proposing more convincing scenarios, etc. In a word, they are not arguing with their opponents. They are bullying them, drowning them out, intimidating them, physically attacking them. This is not only irrational; it is deeply disrespectful, for it fundamentally denies the humanity of their adversaries. Nowhere is this de-humanization more patently evident than in the case of Kathy Griffin’s protest. And the impatience with argument is rooted in a more basic assumption of many on the left—which is precisely why this violence is breaking out in environments where a radical ideology holds sway. I’m talking about the questioning of objective truth and the concomitant hyper-valorization of the self-assertive will. It is a commonplace on the left that claims to objective truth are thinly-veiled plays of power, attempts by one group to impose its views on another. Accordingly, “truth” is construed as a function of the will of the individual. I determine the meaning of my life, and you determine the meaning of yours; I decide my gender and you decide yours—and therefore the best we can do together is tolerate one another’s choices.”

    • popoy says:

      Karl that’s a long paragraph of vitriol, rubbish, and nuggets of fool’s gold but useful copper.

      • NHerrera says:

        Popoy, you are right on that. Lots of words. (Reminds me too of my verboseness. 🙂 ) I can only say in reply to that as one of my apos will say — chillax.

      • karlgarcia says:

        That is why sometimes I just do oneliners, like in your last blog entry.
        Fool’s gold- FeS2
        or as you say eche bureche.
        Thanks for your feedback.

      • sonny says:

        “… fool’s gold … useful copper … ???” I have to think about this one. 😦

        • sonny says:

          I thought the THS is all about the things Robert Barron is talking about: sanity and kindness in discourse and thought, not name-calling and swift judgment especially when events are going south.

  6. popoy says:

    Just now these guys came to my mind: John Wayne, Randolph Scott, Gary Cooper, Alan Ladd, Dale Robertson, Glenn Ford, Kirk Douglas, Joel McCrae Henry Fonda, . . .. And their movies and the word LYNCHING. So apt a word to describe a genre, a psyche, a precursor of nation-building. The Old West so still alive now in the New West, LYNCHING could well be the metaphor that’s done to Obama and Trump by their detractors in the name of press freedom.

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