Lighten Up, America!
"What the country needs is a good big laugh."--Herbert Hoover
I think we've lost our sense of humor. How else can you explain the hatred and vitriol that has filled this campaign season. We have lost our sense of humor and our ability to laugh at ourselves. I know, better than some I suspect, just how serious our situation is as a nation and as a world. I know that global warming is real. That the refugee situation is at a real crisis point. That terrorism threatens lives every day. I know that race relations are in a very poor state right now. That poverty is reality for many. That the tax code is a mess. I know all that. And I take it very seriously (as any regular reader of this blog can tell you). These are issues we need to tackle. These are things we need to address. But we can't do anything as long as we are tearing each other apart. For taking the state-of-the-nation and of the world seriously, is different than taking ourselves seriously. We really need to lighten up! We need to recognize that we all have flaws and foibles, that we are not perfect, and sometimes what we do and say is simply ridiculous.
Maybe after the election is over, the ballots are counted and winners are declared, we will be able to step back, realize we really messed things up in the season of name-calling. Maybe we will take it all as a wake-up call. Maybe we will realize that we need to begin treating one another with respect; that we need to try a bit harder to really love and care about our neighbors, even those with whom we disagree. Maybe especially those with whom we disagree. Maybe we'll do all that.
But at least we can take time out to laugh. To really have a good, deep belly laugh. Not a snarky snicker. Not a smarmy giggle. But a real laugh.
We've come out on the other side of what commentators are now referring to as the Great Recession, but Herbert Hoover was all knotted up in the Great Depression. Yet he was able to say, maybe even with a straight face, ""If someone could get off a good joke every ten days, I think our troubles would be over." OK--maybe more often than that. But still. We need to ease up on ourselves, and especially on one another. Seriously!
(Photo: Herbert Hoover and his dog, King Tut)