Posted by: George | October 12, 2016

The 2016 Presidential Election as Satire

It is hard to figure out how to keep from being clinically depressed about the 2016 presidential election. I don’t mean fashionably depressed. I mean clinically depressed.

Trump, the Republican nominee, brags about sexual assault and then defends himself by parading four women who have allegedly been sexually harassed by Bill Clinton into a press conference, minutes before the second debate. So, women who might have been sexually exploited by Bill Clinton turn to Donald Trump as their hero and protector. Pour me a scotch, neat.

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, cannot emerge from email scandals. Her server, wiki-leaks, whatever. She apologizes, she explains, she diverts, and she cannot wash off the stink. One of her diversions is to be morally outraged about Trump disrespecting women, but then there is Bill. Make it a Bourbon on this one.

Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee, would be an option, if he knew what Aleppo is, or if he could name one leader of a foreign country. Stab me in the eye with needles.

Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee, would be an option, if you are an anti-vaxer and concerned about radiation from Wi-Fi. Just shoot me, please.

So, wherever you start on the political spectrum, whichever way you go, you are probably going to want to vote and then take a long shower. That’s a healthy response. If you are excited about any of these candidates, you might want to seek therapy.

So, is there a way we can get through this?

Maybe, we need to start thinking about this election as an extended and brilliant work of satire. Who wrote this satire? Don’t know. Maybe it is intelligent design. But, I would argue it’s there. If you look for it, you will see satire.

Satire pushes the boundaries. It questions values that we generally consider to be beyond question. Satire is like taking all of our values—even ones we cherish—and throwing them all into an emotional freefall. All values are questioned. Some of them are discarded, if we view them as stale and outmoded. And some are reaffirmed.

It is this part that we usually fail to recognize—satire reaffirms values.

The values that have been most tested during this presidential election relate to the place of women in our society. Are women merely sexual objects? Is it okay that powerful men think that can get away with anything? Is it okay for Trump to degrade women and grab you know what? Is it okay for Bill Clinton to do whatever he did?

During this presidential election, the value of women has been questioned. And, the value of women has also, I believe, been reaffirmed, at least by most Americans. Most of us are outraged by how Trump talks about women. Most of us are at least disappointed in Bill. Most of us are disgusted and outraged. Most of us have said that women should be respected. This is the one thing that might be a positive outcome of this election.


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