Don’t forget to laugh a little

Published 10:34 pm Monday, September 8, 2008

By now, we all know the topics to avoid. We all know that bringing up politics or religion can ruin an otherwise civil discussion. But I’m a risk-taker, willing to cross the line in the dirt just because I know it’s there. OK, that’s probably not an especially accurate description of myself, but I am going to talk about politics in this column.

It’s actually difficult not to discuss politics these days, what with a presidential election less than two months away. I consider it a curse, but it’s almost guaranteed that I will disagree, in one way or another, with almost anyone I listen to. My political views range across the spectrum. When it comes most social issues and fiscal responsibility, I’m so conservative you might mistake me for a billionaire business owner. If the topic is health care or government programs, I’d probably be considered a “socialist” along with Barack Obama.

One opinion of politics I hold – and consider indisputable – is that we take the whole thing too seriously. Oh, I realize the importance of our governance and our country’s impact on the world. But we are far too slow to laugh at things that should serve no other purpose than humor.

The prime example here is the conventions. If you watched one or both of the conventions and became inspired or angered or basically any emotion other than amused, then I’m concerned about your attitude toward the whole political process. These lack the smallest bit of significance and are instead giant pep rallies. You already know what team you’re going to cheer for, and there’s really no point in the star quarterback grabbing the microphone and saying, “We’ve worked hard all week, so come out tonight and help us beat Valley.” And the crowd goes wild, and the belief that the quarterback really is a great player is confirmed before he even suits up for the game.

Sure, John McCain and Sarah Palin said some nice things last week, but is that really any reason to get excited? News would be if they didn’t say anything. That way, we could just watch the delegates from Texas dancing to some country song. Seriously, people, how has this become acceptable in our society?

I’m sure real cowboys are offended that politicians have stolen their headgear (what do they need those hats for, anyway, keeping the fluorescent light out of their eyes while they count money?). But the real issue is that the scene mentioned in the previous paragraph can be found during an event that will probably have an impact on our presidential election (just so I don’t get any flack about making fun of conservatives and not liberals, I’m predicting the next Democratic convention will feature Oprah giving away a car).

Let’s all try to start laughing at the ridiculous aspects of politics even if it’s our own party we laugh at. We might have clearer heads for making decisions.