Funny thing about presidential elections starting from when I was of age to vote. In nearly every Presidential race, my chosen candidate has not won. I just have a penchant for backing the longshot (which extends to my outings at the racetrack as well) which, like at the track, means that my candidate rarely wins. I’m okay with that; at least I made the effort to vote!
Something I’ve noticed missing from this year’s presidential race is a bit of humor. I heard an acquaintance telling a political joke last week and, although it was a funny joke, it was about candidates in the last presidential election. So far this year, I haven’t heard any humor directed at the upcoming election. But hearing that joke reminded me of all the great political humor and humorists over the years. Sometimes you just have to laugh.
And I’m not talking about cruel, crude or insulting jokes either. My appreciation of Presidential humor is more in line with being witty or clever jokes that most people would not find offensive. They are just plain funny such as the joke I heard my friend telling. Although it was directed at one candidate over another, a person would have to be uber-sensitive to not see the humor in it and laugh.
There was a news story recently about the President vowing to ban the TikTok app. Hearing that, I thought about the SNL character Emily Litella, created and played by Gilda Radner. In my mind, I could hear Emily ranting about the President trying to ban Tic Tac® breath mints. “Why should he want to ban Tic Tacs? They taste great and I bet even the President, after delivering a long speech, could use a Tic Tac or two himself!” Then when she finds she has misinterpreted the topic completely, she would respond “Oh, that’s different. Nevermind.”
Mark Russell is/was a political satirist who worked while seated on a piano bench. His musical humor always fell short with me, never reaching the threshold of being either clever or funny. But he did have a large following so perhaps I was not his target demographic.
Then, there was Pat Paulsen, the comedian who actually ran for President several times from the sixties to the nineties. He always had a humorous platform with slogans like “United We Sit.” Paulsen even did pretty well in primary elections, sometimes garnering more votes than the “serious” candidates.
In one of his speeches from the early era of his campaigning, Paulsen said, “Now I ask you: Will I solve our economic problems? Will I ease the causes of racial tension? Will I bring a peaceful end to Vietnam? Sure, why not.” It’s interesting that, aside from the Vietnam reference, that quote could still apply to a candidate today, some fifty years later.
Now, many people believe that our very lives hang in the balance for this election. I doubt that very much. I intend to exceed my “Best If Used By…” shelf life date, no matter who wins in November.
Johnny McNally is Grimes County’s Best Dressed Businessman advocating for Grimes County and writes a bi-weekly column for the Navasota Examiner.