Friday, June 2, 2017

Is it okay to make fun of Donald Trump?

This week, comedian Kathy Griffin raised a huge uproar with a photo prank that fell more than flat on its face.  And it got me to thinking: where's the line?  What's the right approach in this climate?

Without a doubt, political speech is the most broadly protected form of expression in America.  And satire has a unique way of making points that straight-laced commentary can struggle to achieve.    So, yes, it's "okay" to make fun of this or any president.

But is it effective?

Truthfully, this is a larger question than satire or comedy or even snark.  Since election day, the country has been ratcheted up like everyone has been crushing Monster drinks and caffeine pills.  Town halls are raucous and borderline hostile.  I'm as frustrated as anybody, and this is our right.  But, at the end of the day, messages are meant to be received.  And from where I'm sitting, nobody's listening.  In fact, social media blocking of angry constituents is just the latest wave in a concerted effort to ignore those demanding answers.

Is it time to change tactics?

If we are simply looking for catharsis, then nothing feels better than a good, full-blown, fist-shaking vent.  Doubly good if it's laced with some pithy sarcasm.  But if we are looking to be taken seriously and to effect serious change, perhaps it's time to set a different tone.

Conservative media and cynical Republican officials are looking for ANY excuse to discount what we have to say.  And they will take any incident, no matter how isolated, and paint us all with that same brush.  As resisters, we have an obligation to represent each other and the movement in a positive light.  Because only by holding the highest standards as individuals will we be able to lift up the rest of the movement and add our credibility to theirs.

We have serious issues to address.  Social justice, battling corruption, protecting and supporting minorities and marginalized groups, a healthy and educated population for the future.  These issues demand serious people, smart on the facts, making an unassailable case.  These issues demand a resistance movement that cannot be ignored.  As Thomas Jefferson said about the purpose of the Declaration of Independence, "to put the matter before the world, in terms so plain and firm, as to command their assent."

Keep resisting, my friends; command their assent!

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