PLEASANT GROVE — Today on Facebook I ran into someone who apologized for her absence to the page and vowed to pick up with her viscous liberal comments just as soon as she got re-settled in.
She then threw in a Mitt Romney joke as a teaser, with a promise of more Romney-Ryan and Republican jokes to come.
'Tis the season.
This particular humorous posting was, as expected, funny as all get out — and I laughed out loud, like I do at most of her postings. In retrospect, examining her posting, it was not droll because it supported my particular political leaning — though there are plenty of those jokes around. Nor did I chortle because I related to the situation.
As I prepared to show my wife, or at least as I prepared to send it her way electronically, I took a second look. It was absurd, and I like absurd. And it wasn’t very nice. That gave me pause. I have always been a fan of my Facebook friends' wry comments and frothy postings. If I can’t lay claim to a high IQ like those of my friends, at least I can go on record rubbing proverbial shoulders with their pithy offerings.
I prepared to “share” it on my Facebook account and again had a queasy feeling. It was just too darn mean.
Now, I didn’t write the joke and I didn’t draw the funny cartoon it was attached to. All I did was laugh — laugh at someone being laughed at with a cartoon sword. The frightening part was that I may have laughed because someone was being laughed at.
That gave me pause from my pause. If someone says something biting or sorted and I laugh, does that make me mean-spirited as well? Have I morphed from a sweet, passive political cartoon reader into someone who doesn’t care if the humor I enjoy is at someone else’s expense?
With political conventions half over and election season in full deliberately offensive swing, now is the time for all good men to joke at the expense of another; to show their intelligence with a quick put down or a smarmy comment.
If I were at the microphone, would I take a prime-time jibe to demonstrate how clever I was if Romney himself was in the room or his mother sat in the front row?
What if President Barack Obama was shaking my hand? Would I repeat the latest Democratic joke and smirk, and invite him to be my Facebook friend?
“Sorry Mrs. Obama,“ my wife would say. “My poor husband feels wronged. He is just trying to get back at the world by spreading the pain.“
I went back and read all of my clever friend’s comments, or as many as I could in one sitting. By the end of my excursion I was tinkling the ice cubes in my glass and swaying like an unedited Dorothy Parker.
What I found was that, aside of a few pretty puppy photos, base, ignoble political commentary bleeds from my inbox. Rare is the post that invites me to action, but rather to have a seat, sit back and laugh at someone else.
Vicious biting remarks are the fashion equivalent of the little black dress
Both political conventions will be full of why “the other guy can't lead,” and “aren’t they stupid?” And while they are at the podiums, we will be busy at home posting our own reasons for thinking liberals are fools and conservatives are naive —or the other way ‘round.
The issue is not who we are putting down, but that we feel someone has to be in the one under position, and we are determined not to be the one on bottom.
This election season I vow to respond to human decency and kindness. I will not let negative sound bites dictate how I vote, think or act.
I will firmly promote civility to those with religious or political leanings different than my own.
I will look for consideration in an e-world full of funny, smart, angry people sending each other civilized, cantankerous blurbs that aren’t, in the long run, very funny at all.