American Politics: Even *The Onion* Couldn’t Make Up This Stuff…

“There’s no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.” – Will Rogers

“The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet.” – Mark Twain

Isn’t it comforting to know that the looniness we’re seeing in our nation right now is not something new, but that 100 years ago Will Rogers and Mark Twain, too, found a mother lode of comic material in our political system?

I wonder who the equivalent of Rick Perry was 100 years ago. And was Texas as weird then as it is now?

Yesterday I heard a story that came out of Texas that I was sure, at first, must have come from The Onion.  Maybe you saw it, too. I’m talking about the video clip of the protestors on the capitol grounds in Austin who were told that people are only allowed to exercise their right to free speech for three hours a day. Apparently, they’d already used up their three hours for that day, and would need to return on the morrow to get three more hours of free speech.

And then we have Michelle Bachmann signing a pledge that states, in part: “…a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.”* The fact that slaves weren’t actually allowed to get married, and that members of their families were routinely separated and sold as property to other plantation owners certainly helps to establish Bachmann as a leading contender in the contest for political lunacy.

To be fair, though, Rep. Paul Ryan from Wisconsin is no slouch in the contest. In fact, Ryan, who proposes that the unemployed should work for free**,  might actually have Bachmann beat when it comes to being an advocate for the glories of American slavery.

And I don’t think we should leave out Bobby Franklin, a lawmaker from Georgia, when considering loony politicians. In a looniness that can only be described as spectacular, Franklin proposes that miscarriages be considered a felony unless the woman who had the miscarriage can prove there was “no human involvement.”*** So, if I’m interpreting his proposal correctly, basically the body of every fecund woman in Georgia would become the property of the state, and women would need to prove…well, this is where I get really lost, to tell you the truth…would a woman need to send a monthly menstrual report to her local law enforcement agency, or…? Honestly…I can’t even begin to fathom how this law would be carried out if it was passed.  But just the fact that one of America’s politicians came up with this proposal, leaves one in a kind of jaw-dropping wonder, doesn’t it? Even The Onion can’t make up stuff like this.

Will and Mark would have had a field day with all of this, wouldn’t they? Man, I really wish they were here to enjoy the splendors of contemporary American politics with the rest of us.

* http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-07-10/news/29779580_1_slavery-gop-presidential-hopefuls-pledge

** http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eioWgJFWxD0

***http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/02/26/georgia-lawmakers-anti-abortion-proposal-punish-women-miscarriages/

Karen Wingoov

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2 thoughts on “American Politics: Even *The Onion* Couldn’t Make Up This Stuff…

  1. The problem with all of this is that it leaves some of the Canadian comedy shows that rely heavily on making fun of American politics sounding a bit flat. You listen to the show, and all of the funniest stuff is really just actually what happened. That isn’t really comedy, is it? If you’re making a great comedy show making fun of something, you have to take whatever the truth is and do a genius twist to it that leaves everyone rolling on the floor gasping with laughter. Just re-telling the news shouldn’t qualify as a comedy show.

    Because of this, my husband, for one, has taken to reading/watching Fox news for a laugh in the mornings. Which I guess is less about retelling what actually happened than the Canadian comedy shows … at least at the moment …

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