Comic Relief from American Politics

2017 - 11 - 16 drinking water is hard
“Ummm, how do you use this thing?”

Donald Trump makes me laugh—a lot. But it’s not the good, health-inducing kind of laughter. It’s more like the nervous laughter that results from thinking, Holy crap, if this guy is the leader of the free world, we’re all doomed!  This week I laughed out loud when I watched him struggle with a water bottle at his press conference after his return from Asia. I wasn’t laughing because he looked uncomfortably dumb, but because it occurred to me that it was entirely possible that he has never had to drink from a plastic bottle ever before during his seventy year privileged existence. It was a nervous laugh. I’m not laughing with Donald Trump; I’m laughing at him and that makes me feel kind of bad. I believe that President Trump doesn’t even possess the mental capacity to comprehend genuine humor and I don’t enjoy laughing at the expense of the simple-minded.

Over the past year, to find relief from the distress that my president and his cronies have been causing me, I’ve turned to comedians to save me from the pit of despair I could easily sink into when I think about the state of American politics. I seriously feel that I owe Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, and the cast of SNL a debt of gratitude for keeping me from sinking emotionally. Not only have they affirmed my personal belief that some of the political actions I’ve witnessed this past year are 100% unacceptable and should be called out; they have also shown me that turning such actions into comic material provides a healthy outlet for those of us who engage in the higher-level thinking required to comprehend humor and feel helpless in this new dumbed-down political culture we’re living in.

As I laugh at the President of the United States—and with Jimmy, Seth, and the cast of SNL—it reminds me how lucky I am to live in a place like America with the First Amendment that gives me the right to laugh at my leader, and to write these very words. I’m guessing that there isn’t a whole lot of laughing going on in North Korea, and that those who dare to actually die laughing. It’s sobering to think about how Jimmy, Seth, and the SNL comedians would probably be executed if they lived in an information censoring dictatorship. This concept makes me feel so blessed to live in this democracy where I can laugh at questionable leadership.

Thank you, Founding Fathers, when drafting the Bill of Rights, for allowing for the possibility that a moron would someday be in charge and that Americans would need to find some comic relief to survive his presidency.

 

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© 2017 by Julie Ryan. All rights reserved
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