I have a pretty good sense of humor. At least as far as I can tell.* I've been known to crack wise, I laugh at good slapstick and smile appreciatively at more cerebral humor, I can remember about one out of a hundred jokes I hear for at least twelve hours, and perhaps most importantly, I can usually laugh at myself when required.
One area where my sense of humor is completely lacking is in the area of practical jokes. I don't know what it is, but I can never come up with a good prank. I never even think to try. And I usually fall for them when people play them on me. Someone gets me every April Fool's Day, even though by now you would think I would see it coming. And I always feel foolish, which I gather is the desired reaction.
In my defense, I know some pretty funny people. They have been known to super-glue receivers to telephones, cover the sensors of optical mice with tiny pieces of Scotch tape, smash eggs on people after blowing out the yolk, and wrap every object in a room with aluminum foil. The Wife even has her own seltzer bottle. Last April first, some friends who had been dating for almost ten years announced their engagement on Facebook. I knew they had been looking at houses, and they had me at "Hey, everybody!"
So obviously, this post is about politics. I avoid writing about politics when I can. I find most people either don't know that much about whatever particular thing is being discussed, or they have their own (sometimes very strong) opinion. If they don't know it's usually intentional -- a wise and legitimate personal choice -- and if they have an opinion I'm not likely to change it. So the only time that a political discussion is normally enjoyable is when we agree, and I have better ways to spend my time than congratulating myself on the wisdom of my beliefs. **
Occasionally the background noise gets too loud, or something comes up that is too outrageous. and I just have to say something. And what I have to say in this case is not that Obama is the devil, or that Palin is a succubus, or anything about Wall Street and Main Street. I want to talk about the tone of political discourse.
Apparently, thirty percent of the people in the United States are convinced that another thirty percent are evildoers trying to destroy our nation. And vice-versa. Seriously. What I believe is that a significant part of the remaining forty percent sort of think that you're all getting a little overly dramatic and self-indulgent, and you're kind of pissing us off. As I recall, that was one of the main reasons people gave for voting for hopey-changey guy. I know enough people along the political spectrum to know that the vast majority of U.S. citizens love the country and want to make it better. We just disagree on methods and priorities.
The only thing people seem to be able to agree on is that our government is broken, yet they don't seem to want to talk about it with the people they hired to do the job. I have been struck lately by how many people preach personal responsibility, and in the next breath talk about how other people need to change. Apparently, there are a lot of people who don't know what that term means. Given the state of our educational system, I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
So I have a suggestion. If you have a beef with what is going on in Washington, please contact the people who are paid to represent you there. If you don't get satisfaction from them, work as hard as you can to get them fired. That's how it's supposed to work. The rest of this foolishness is just going to end up getting people killed.
A better way to express political activism or concern is probably at the State level, or even in your local community, but that's a topic for the next time I'm too frustrated to keep my mouth shut.
* Hopefully, I'm not one of those people who spends all their time defending their absolute lack of a sense of humor by proclaiming what a great sense of humor they have. Or the kind who always hears, "You're so funny," when what people really mean is, "That's the dumbest thing I have ever heard in my life."