I have an orange ball that looks like my President. I made it in February as a way to creatively express my feelings of helplessness regarding stopping Donald Trump’s harmful behavior toward my fellow Americans. I toss the ball around with friends while sharing thoughts of frustration about Trump and our government’s seeming inability – or desire – to stop the damage he is doing to our country. I hope I never have to apologize for making this Trump ball as a form of comic relief from his behavior.
Comedian, Kathy Griffin, apologized earlier this week for going “too far” in a photo of her holding a decapitated and bloodied head of Donald Trump. I do not believe in violence. These days, it seems that we also have to be careful about even implying acts of violence because there are apparently a large number of idiots in our country who might act upon the suggestion of violence. I do believe in comedy, though.
I feel that the highly publicized story about Griffin and her questionable photo of a likeness of the President’s head should have been over with her sincere apology. It isn’t over. Instead of her apology being accepted, and our country moving on to more important matters – like investigating Trump’s relationship with Russia, restoring alliances undone by our President, and defending the human rights that Trump and his administration seem to be focusing on taking away – part of the American public is focusing on Griffin. She claimed in a press conference that our President and his family are now trying to destroy her in response to the photo. She has received death threats. Even though I am not into violence, I could get behind my President focusing on destroying Putin; I can’t get behind the supposed leader of the free world spending his energy on taking down a comedian and encouraging his supporters to also do so. It is behavior like this that has made Trump a ridiculously easy target of American comedians.
I understand the need to use humor as we process the behavior of people responsible for running our country. In a democracy we have the right to laugh at the things our leaders do that are embarrassing to us as a nation. Humor has always seemed to be a good way to diffuse tension and move on, rather than focusing on someone’s dumb behavior. Ever since I began watching Saturday Night Live at the age of seven in 1975 and saw Chevy Chase spoofing the behavior of President Gerald Ford, it seemed to me that political satire was the “American way.” Today, talk show hosts, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, Chelsea Handler, and a long list of other comedians have made Donald Trump a part of their regular routine. I believe they have a huge following because so many of us find our President’s behavior embarrassing and we desperately crave relief from the way he makes many of us feel.
For many years I wanted to become a political satirist myself. Now I really do. I completely understand mockery – the business of comedians. Griffin may have crossed the line and challenged our need for human decency, even in matters of comedy. But, she acknowledged it and apologized for it – time to move on and let her continue on with her career. If Donald Trump suddenly experiences an awakening and apologizes to my country for making a mockery of the office of the U.S. Presidency and for repeatedly crossing the line of human decency, I wonder if he will receive forgiveness from me – and everyone else that has had to make a Trump prop for comic relief.
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© 2017 by Julie Ryan. All rights reserved
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