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We need something to laugh about

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image Regardless of whether or not you like Vice President Joe Biden, it’s hard to deny that he can be one heck of a funny guy. Sometimes even when he doesn’t intend to be. Mitch Traphagen Photo

There isn’t a single nation on earth that would not be completely freaked out at the thought of having to deal with Secretary of State Gary Busey.


One of the best things about being too busy to enjoy the little things in life is that I don’t have time to watch much television. The few minutes here and there that I have watched appear to be an endless stream of “Obama is going to kill most of us and make the survivors dependent upon a socialist state” and “Romney is going to suck out our souls and give them to the rich” advertising. What I can’t figure out is why either of them would even want to be the President of the United States. Sure, the perks are great but, no matter who wins, at least half the country is going to hate that person with a white hot passion.

Here’s the thing (in my opinion): Obama could singlehandedly cure cancer and the people who hate him would still hate him. He would immediately be slammed ruthlessly for putting people out of work at cancer centers. Romney, meanwhile, could donate every dollar he has earned to starving children in Somalia and people would accuse of him trickery and of merely acting out a ploy to “offshore money and jobs in an African nation.”

Neither of those men can win. Think about what it must be like to have 160 million people hating you. Think about what it must be like to live, as colorful former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura once put it, “working a job where they have to weld the manhole covers shut just to visit a 7-Eleven.” Is having your own cool Boeing 747 really worth that? Not to me. I think we should be suspicious of anyone who wants to do that job — there have to be some pretty weird personality quirks involved, to say the least.

But a lot of people only seem to be suspicious of the “Other Guy”. “Their Guy”, meanwhile, is the only right, true and American choice. Anyone else means you are either a socialist or a fascist.

More than a year ago, while Donald Trump was (technically) still in the running for President, comedian Conan O’Brien tweeted:

If Trump runs for the White House, how will he decide between Gary Busey and Meatloaf for Vice President?

At the time, both men were on Trump’s television show Celebrity Apprentice.

But, you know what? Maybe he was on to something there. The world has gone insane, right? I think that’s something we can all agree on. So, given that, what better way to give the world’s most powerful nation a nice kick in the pants than by scaring the living daylights out of everyone else?

If Trump had become president, you can almost picture the scene in other, less-than-friendly nuclear nations: “You know, I don’t think we should mess with them. He might just push the button!”

And honestly, tell me what country is going to feel secure enough to pull stuff on us with Defense Secretary Meatloaf? Best of all, there isn’t a single nation on earth, not even the most insane terrorist-extremist-loving country, that would not be completely freaked out at the thought of having to deal with Secretary of State Busey.

That, of course, was written in jest, which is a dangerous thing in America today. Some people seem to be looking for things to be offended by, and humor for anyone in the public eye can become a dark and scary alleyway to oblivion.

On that note, I think the sad truth is that our political leaders, while quite possibly of questionable sanity for pursuing such posts, are often funny people, but it is the American public that lacks the ability to laugh. That’s too bad because, to me, laughing is a better way to spend the day than crying and we all know there’s plenty of stuff to cry about.

Both Presidents Bush and Obama kept up the tradition of appearing at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner. It has always been intended to be a venue in which both sides — the political leadership and the press — can let their hair down with each other. Every president since Calvin Coolidge has attended the dinner. Parts of the proceeds go towards funding journalism scholarships.

Since the advent of YouTube and blogs, however, presidents have been repeatedly (and to me, unfairly) slammed for it. The most famous, perhaps, involved a slideshow of President Bush looking under furniture in the White House for the missing weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Yes, that could be perceived as offensive to families who lost loved ones in the war, but it was never intended for public dissemination. I defy you to find anyone who could prove that President Bush did not care about those soldiers. I have no doubt that he did and that he wasn’t trying to diminish them. He merely took a few hours to inject some lightheartedness — something the event was designed for — after spending the other 8,762 hours of that year dealing with a serious, gut-wrenching and painful situation.

In the process of being irritated, people missed out on some of his great humor. In reference to his infamous sentence uttered in Saginaw, Michigan in 2000, “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully,” the president remarked during the 2001 dinner, “You see, anyone can give you a coherent sentence. But this takes you to an entirely new dimension.”

In reference to his equally infamous, “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?” uttered during a campaign stop in South Carolina, the president said, “If they would read it closely they would see I’m using the transitive plural tense, so the word ‘is’ are correct.” He concluded by saying, “In my sentences, I go where no man has gone before.”

President Obama has a sense of humor, too. During the 2010 dinner, he quipped to host Jay Leno: “I am glad that the only person whose ratings fell more than mine last year is here tonight. Great to see you, Jay. I’m also glad that I’m speaking first. We’ve all seen what happens when somebody takes the time slot after Leno’s.”

He also joked about an issue that just won’t go away.

“As some of you heard, the state of Hawaii released my official long-form birth certificate,” President Obama said. “Hopefully, this puts all doubts to rest. But just in case there are any lingering questions, tonight I’m prepared to go a step further. Tonight, for the first time, I am releasing my official birth video.”

A video clip from a Disney cartoon movie began playing behind him.

Things are going to get crazy here. In just over a week, the Republican National Convention will pretty much consume the city of Tampa, and the airwaves will be saturated with deep-voiced, serious-sounding people predicting doom, despair and Armageddon should the “Other Guy” prevail. Until Election Day, the next couple of months will probably be tortuous for most of us. I’m hoping that somehow, by some miracle, we can lighten up and find something to laugh about during this time. It would be good to laugh together as a nation. After all, they aren’t “My Guy” or the “Other Guy” — they are “Our Guys” and we can laugh all we want.

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