U2 and lead singer Bono don’t really like President Donald Trump, but they go about showing that dislike in a now out-of-style fashion: respectfully.
Maryland’s FedExField was packed to the brim June 20 with thousands of fans happy to be spending their evening with friends, beer and Bono. A huge screen was the backdrop for U2’s two-hour set, and flashing across it were beautiful landscapes, American flags, patriotism and iconic figures (plus Lena Dunham, for some reason) of the 20th and 21st centuries.
They took the stage and played their first song to a cheering crowd.
Then, Bono held a moment to say something that set the tone for the rest of the evening:
“You’ve been through some troubling days here with the shooting in Alexandria. We are so grateful that Congressman Scalise and his comrades made it through. So grateful. We hold them up, as love holds us all up.”
— Katie Frates (@TheWorldsFrates) June 21, 2017
He finished the tribute, saying, “Whoever you voted for, you are welcome here. We will find common ground.”
The stadium roared its approval, and then proceeded to rock.
It was a wonderfully refreshing moment in American politics so divided by hateful one-upsmanship. U2’s message resonated with every conservative I stood next to. They nodded their heads in approval, clapped and cheered — so did the liberals.
What’s more, Bono took the time to visit MedStar Washington and sign a card for Scalise, who is now in fair condition at the hospital following multiple surgeries.
Entertainers like Katy Perry, Stephen Colbert, Madonna, Cher and so many others should take note of the impression U2’s concert left on attendees.
The left wants to see Katy Perry bring a skeleton of Trump on stage and Stephen Colbert go on a rant about the president being Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “cock holster” because it validates and channels their anger. The right feeds off it, too.
In the process, we all forget about that “common ground” Bono mentioned.
Imagine the moment in “Mean Girls” when Cady Heron (played by Lindsay Lohan) watches in horror as all of the women — fighting over the nasty slights in the burn book — turn into animals and proceed to maul one another. That’s not too far off from what is happening in America now. There are moments where we stop the fighting to near-universally condemn someone who takes dislike of Trump too far, like Kathy Griffin’s severed head stunt, yet those moments only last for a day or two.
No lesson is learned from Griffin, as can be seen in Johnny Depp’s now-apologized-for “joke” about an actor assassinating Trump, the play in Central Park about Trump being stabbed to death, and tweets and audio of people like now-fired Democratic official Phil Montag saying he wished Scalise were dead.
Do Griffin, Depp and Montag really wish Trump and Scalise were dead? Probably not, but they use such visceral language because it’s the accepted way of communicating unhappiness about something. Wishing someone dead in 2017 is like calling someone a jerk in 1995.
Now, Bono is no fan of the president, and that did show in subtle imagery throughout the concert. It preached messages like acceptance of all immigrants and no border wall, however, no one on the right really seemed to mind. It didn’t detract from the performance, because the performance was never about politics in the first place.
The effect U2’s concert had is that a conservative is writing an article praising the way someone chose to criticize a Republican president, instead of writing an article about how said criticism ruined the performance and achieved nothing. America doesn’t see a lot of this type of behavior anymore because it doesn’t make headlines. Our attention spans are short. We want bright flashes of anger, outrageous stunts and gasp-worthy insults.
It’s unhealthy, addictive and shallow; kind of like reality TV for politics.
So if people like Stephen Colbert want what they say to matter, they should take a minute and learn a lesson from U2 and Bono. Compassion and concern for politicians we don’t agree with, because we know they just want the best for the country, opens hearts and minds. Respectful disagreement leaves a mutual feeling of respect from those being disagreed with. People listen instead of turning away.
Be less like Katy Perry and more like Bono.