In the Clearing, A Clowny Figure

Millions of years ago – when dinosaurs roamed the earth and ethnic teens used curling irons in futile attempts to model their hairstyles after the not at all ethnic Farrah Fawcett’s feathery coif – I saw an article in the practically unproofread local paper about a rally for George Wallace. Not the comedian. The photograph depicted a wheelchair-bound Governor Wallace surrounded by a crowd of supporters. Next to him, Tammy Wynette crooned “Stand By Your Man.” Whenever I think of this distasteful moment in the history of American hatred, I am pleased to recall the song’s tender rendition behind chicken wire in “The Blues Brothers.” There! So much for *that.*

We live in a time of creeping and insidious hatred. Your oppressors – stop arguing with me, you *have* oppressors; wanna talk about your credit card-issuing Evil Overlords? – want you to live fearfully, obediently and in isolation. TV news begins every night with a storyline that ends with, “Could your neighbors be [insert latest shocking behavior humans have actually been displaying since the dawn of time] with your [insert children, pets, fine washables; whatever victim scares you most]?” Maybe you didn’t even notice for a while that you wonder what your friends are up to, what Mom and Dad did before the population was under constant surveillance, and that Fox News and Homeland Security want you to believe every busted fuse in your basement panelbox is the work of crafty al-Qaeda.

Yeah, yeah. Malarkey. We have a problem.

I am telling you right now: I can’t take credit for this idea, but I don’t remember where I saw it first. When I find the source of it, I will credit the brains most abundant. It’s this: it’s time for a giant, sustained game of Political Point&Laugh.

When Bill O’Reilly says something inflammatory or breezes past the facts, burst out laughing.

When our President says Social Security is doomed (DOOMED!), grab your sides and guffaw.

When Dick Cheney says…anything, giggle like Gidget.

See, their whole schtick is being taken seriously. When you’re interpreting Bush’s latest budget request as a real kneeslapper, it’s suddenly very, very easy to see behind the Wizard’s curtain. Remove your own fear and you will see clearly. We have a revolution to conduct, and the first up against the wall are the hate- and fearmongers.

Now, laugh! And pass it on.

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