Monday, July 30, 2012

Political humor--or is it?

I'm having a hard time reconciling my sense of respect and my sense of humor. I have a great deal of respect for Barack Obama, both as President and a man. I have a friend who says adamantly he respects the office but not the man. I was about to argue, when I realized that's exactly how I feel about George W. Bush. I understand he's a nice guy--genial, laid-back, good company. In fact, that was my impression when I shook hands with him during his governor days. Laura Bush was crisply efficient, well dressed, properly cordial; he looked like he'd grabbed that plaid shirt out of the dryer, and when he offered his hand it was with almost sheepish duck of the head. But his presidency ruined any leeeway I was about to give him.
Now we have Mitt Romney, and I would like to respect the man. Anyone who puts himself out there to run for president deserves respect. But his increasing gaffes make it hard, especially after his tour abroad. The hardest thing for me, however, is that some of the cartoons and comments on Facebook are so darned hysterical, I can't help laughing out loud. I try to follow with common sense. I don't take seriously much from the page, "I love it when I wake up and Obama is president." I do take seriously a column from somone like Paul Krugman. But even the stuff from the "Dogs Against Romney" page is funny, though Seamus' trip on the roof of the car is now a stale joke. The slogan, "Mitt the Twit" is almost irresistible, and I love "Mittens" as a nickname--it has such a dimunitive quality about it.Then there's the picture of Queen Elizabeth, looking stern as only she can, with bubble words, "I am getting quite tired of you, Mr. Romney." Never happened, but the idea is great. Or Jay Leno's comment that the reason Romney is having a hard time picking a v-p candidate is that he's never hired from within this country before. Or the picture of the Obamas at a casual supper somewhere on the campaign trail--they're laughing naturally, heartily and you almost want to laugh with them. But the bubble words say, "And he wanted an apology!" You know that's not what they're laughing about, but it's still funny. I don't repost those things unless I just can't help myself.
But you know what? I don't see Governor Romney laughing much if at all. A tight, forced smile, yes; genuine laughter, no. Maybe someone should tell him that a new study indicates that being able to laugh at yourself is a sign of a healthy personality and sense of humor. Or should we tell him laughter is the best medicine?
In the long run, maybe the most apt saying is "He laughs best who laughs last."

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