After Tony Abbott was allegedly headbutted by someone who disagreed with him, I’ve been wondering. Do we now value the fist over discussion?
I can proudly state that my knuckles have kept their definition, representing a mountain range maintained by a life spent running from conflict. I seldom step to violence, because I’ve been indoctrinated to believe that it doesn’t solve anything, and that the merch inside Officeworks can overcome the merch held in atomic silos. However, considering the international discourse resembles the violent grime of Christina Aguilera’s ‘Dirrty’ clip instead of the familiar beige surrounds of adult discussion, I might have to start throwing some elbows.
As the crow and bullshit flies, this week has birthed us two instances of where we truly stand. The American example, a Nazi cold clocked on cold Washington street, and the Australian take, where a Prime Minister headbutted* by a ‘Yes’ campaigner.
Whether Tony’s headbutt happened or not, the reaction was the same. A Chuck Norris grade thumbs up.
Breaking: Police have narrowed down the suspects in the Tony Abbott headbutt case down to the LNP front bench and most of Australia #auspol
— Seano🏳️🌈 (@SeanBradbery) September 21, 2017
In the US, the New York Post labelled the character splayed on the streets as a ‘jerk’, locally we chuckled at the tone of Tone’s puffed lip. Those who populated transatlantic comment boxes were unified by the desirous want of wanting to be there.
The only thing we seemingly need in 2017 is a just antagonist. Someone who is worth crossing the societal boundaries of decent behaviour to rearrange their facial feautes. Primarily, because they themselves are not being decent. Fortunately, there’s plenty go seemingly around. We’re experiencing a sort of tweenie testosterone rush, eyes darting around the schoolyard for a likely target.
Whether Tony’s headbutt was an inside job, or that the dank memes actually echo political means is yet to be known.
— Jess Wheeler (@wheelswordsmith) September 21, 2017
However, this incident, fictional or true, was enabled by the same force that haymakered that Nazi. The current landscape of discourse made it acceptable, as the echo of the blow is worth more than the initial force. The first person that Tony apparently called was the media, conversely, the first responder to the ‘nazi knockout’ was the man who uploaded it to Twitter.
It’s all a bit confusing. How should we act? Fortunately, there’s a handy Trolley problem diagram that articulates it nicely:
do you knock out the nazi and pull the lever to prevent numerous deaths or do you refrain bc violence is bad pic.twitter.com/NqMFwmWHnx
— possum princess 🏳 (@ohgodohwatohgod) September 21, 2017
These are obviously bad, miseducated people, but they’re still obviously people. They’ve just chosen the ride our rails in an incompatible gauge. All board the insane train.
But what now? Do we now try and step backwards from the chasm, try to reach them with our hands, instead of balled fists? Or have we already progressed beyond that point? Nazi armbands and Homophobia freely walk respective streets, so a potentially domed Prime Minister is almost a fair response. Have they pushed us to this being deemed acceptable, or did we lunge the last few steps with fist gleefully cocked?
Should freedom of opinion only extend to those who have actually given it some thought beforehand?
One clocked Nazi or bruised Tony won’t change their minds, but we did it, because we were angry, we just wanted them out of our face. But much like the sand people of Tatooine, while they’re easily startled, they’ll soon return in greater number.
Do we now just vow to meet everyone we at the flagpole at three o’clock and sort it out the traditional way, with the last one standing is deemed the moral victor?