Relax, Chris Matthews. No One Is Going To Behead You.
Last night, after the Democratic debates, Chris Matthews had a moment. And by moment, I mean that he had a complete breakdown, was physically shaking, on the verge of tears, and — it seems — trying to insinuate that if Bernie Sanders were elected president, he would be beheaded in Central Park. Or that if Fidel Castro had taken over the United States, he would have been beheaded in Central Park and some people would be cheering.
Better duck and cover to prepare yourselves for this one.
Well, it seems like someone's talking the John Birch Paranoid Blues. Let's dig in, shall we?
I have my own views of the word socialist, and I'll be glad to tell them, share them with you in private, and they go back to the early 1950s.
Not sure any good has ever come from views that "go back to the early 1950s" but okay.
I have an attitude about them. I remember The Cold War, I have an attitude towards Castro. I believe if Castro and —and the Reds had won The Cold War, there would have been executions in Central Park, and I might have been one of the ones getting executed. And certain other people would be there cheering. So I have a problem with people who took the other side.
"Certain other people," eh? Is he talking about Sanders here? Or perhaps Phil Donahue?
I don't know who Bernie supports over these years, I don't know what he means by socialism. One week it's DENMAHK, 'we're gonna be like DEHNMAHK,' okay that's harmless, that's basically a capitalist country with a lot of good social programs.
Making fun of people's accents is cool and hilarious!
Chris Hayes interjected, to tell him that yes, Denmark is exactly what Sanders means by Socialism, and he has been pretty clear about that. Over the last thirty years. Matthews is not so sure though, and to be fair, no, Bernie Sanders has never come out and directly said "I have no plans to execute Chris Matthews in Central Park." Although I don't think that's in any of the other candidate's platforms either. If it is, more than happy to retract that, but I feel like it is not.
Matthews went on to freak out about what Sanders' opinion of Fidel Castro might be, I guess in terms of executing his opponents. Now, I don't know what his opinion specifically is, but it's probably not that far off from mine — that the embargo is absurd given the fact that we trade with China — a communist country not known for having a great human rights record (*cough* Tibet, disappearing people trying to organize unions in Ivanka Trump's sweatshops, etc. *cough*), that Castro was bad but not as bad as Batista, and that the bad shit that went on in Cuba was obviously bad, but that the sandwiches, the literacy rates and the whole thing where people can go to medical school to become doctors for free are good. Things that are objectively bad don't make things that are objectively good bad by proxy. If I make delicious cupcakes and then go on a murder spree, that doesn't make cupcakes bad. Cupcakes were not the problem (though the case has been made for Twinkies).
That is pretty much the boiler-plate progressive stance on Cuba. Now, we can of course talk about how real communism has never existed, but I am good with saving that for the next potluck.
But Matthews is very worried about this, clearly. I'm not sure why. Maybe he thinks that if all of the poor people have health care they'll become super strong and just go mad with power and guillotines? If this truly is a serious concern, he may want to consider that the whole reason Otto von Bismarck instituted national health care in Germany was to make full-on socialism less appealing. You know, because when you make things nice for people, they're usually a little less likely to call for a full on revolution. I mean, just look at Les Mis, right? You give Jean Valjean some food for his family so he doesn't have to steal a loaf of bread, you get Fantine some health care, and no one's gonna be storming the barricades. You get some criminal justice reform so Javert doesn't need to dedicate his whole life to tracking down a dude who stole some bread? Decimates the entire plot of the show.
But I digress.
Look, I know a lot of people (here, especially) vehemently dislike Bernie Sanders. But I would like to think, that as reasonable people, we can all agree that he is probably not going to get it together to behead Chris Matthews in Central Park. I mean, I can tell you that I have been active in progressive political activism for pretty much my entire life (you don't even want to know how long I can talk about the School of the Americas and the murders of union organizers in Colombia for), and I can assure you that while we've always had a lot on the agenda ... not once has "behead Chris Matthews in Central Park" been on the list. In fact, not only are we extremely against the death penalty, you will find that a significant number skew in favor of prison abolition.
I, for one, faint at the sight of blood. Seriously, like the last time I had to get blood drawn to check on my whole anemia/sodium deficiency situation, two people had to come with me and distract me with puppets. Who the hell am I going to behead?
And just so we all know that I am fair and balanced when it comes to beheadings, I have said the exact same thing many times about this weird Jack Chick comic about how after all of the good Christians get vacuumed up into heaven, the mediocre Christians will have to stay down here with us heathens, and we're supposed to demand that they denounce Jesus and then behead them if they don't, and then after that happens they get to be martyrs and go hang out in heaven. I think.
I have always found that just a tad presumptuous. If someone feels like they need to be beheaded in order to be a martyr for Jesus or Capitalism, they can take care of that themselves. Don't involve me! Buy your own damn guillotine, I say! That shit is expensive.
Anyway, I hope that this little rant soothes the nerves of Chris Matthews and any other Future Members Of The New HUAC! I don't want people stressed out thinking they are gonna get murdered by a bunch of hippies who just really want poor people to have health care.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse