Friday, June 11, 2010

A True Sense of Humor

It is often, in this confusing world, difficult to separate tragedy from humor. Over the years, my parents both, although personally proven to be incompatible had a marvelous and perceptive sense of humor. This legacy has been both a blessing and a curse as I have observed the scene as it has unfolded through my life. From the beginning—born in the Hoover administration—through the Great Depression and then WWII, there was more cause for tears than laughter. Even from those cataclysmic times, the retained memories tend more to be of happy moments and good cheer. They produced a happy kid.

Their influence has eased the difficulties of life over the intervening years. It has also prompted accusations of a lack of seriousness from wives, employers, and associates as various challenges have been encountered. Personally, I would prefer to see the whole picture—including the ridiculous—as I view the world around me. Lacking that, the milieu in D.C. would drive even the most well balanced to distraction.

Perhaps the most important source of a sense of humor in leadership is the humility to see the error of their ways. We are men—not gods. We make mistakes and the response to those mis-steps reveals much about our personalities. Early in the Obama presidency, he made a very natural error. In unfamiliar surroundings, he mistook a huge window in the White House for a door. After the collision, rather than demonstrating normal human embarrassment for a very natural faux pas and laughing it off, he displayed suppressed anger. We later found that to be a precursor of an endless defense of his behavior in a multitude of more serious matters.

As this president continues down his pre-destined path toward the financial destruction of the republic, the alienation of our dependable allies, and suppressing any familiarity with our fundamental roots, we find a continuing demonstration of anger and hostility. As a result, when he does rarely smile, one is drawn to question what governmental intrusion in our lives is about to be launched. Offering “to kick ass” in a crisis may seem humorous to Obama but comes off as churlish and crude to the average American. There is a segment of the population who may take comfort in the threat but misunderstand the role of the president in our system. An adage from my youth is as true today as it ever was: “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”

Obviously, I despise conversation about the violent replacement of the president. I have further disapproved of impeachment talk predicated on the abuse of the constitution. My reasoning has been based on familiarity with the order of replacement of a chief executive. The thought of Biden, Pelosi or Clinton in the oval office seemed too grim to even contemplate. My thoughts on Biden have softened considerably as the current term progresses. It has now become difficult to imagine that the vice-president would not be a far better choice for the nation than the one the electorate chose. At a bare minimum, he has sufficient humility to recognize his own errors, laugh at himself and then move on. In my warped mind, that is a fundamental requirement for the presidency.

Extracting a laugh from a teleprompter is the forte of late-night network comics. For others not schooled in their techniques, it is an embarrassment. The true test is the extemporaneous uttering of the unprompted in reaction to a current event. That is far more likely to reveal the intention of the heart. Humor has many faces and not the least is cruelty. Every great joke or riposte line has an element of truth. As we look at what we can actually verify about our president, we find little for him which predicts a joyous life.

Even though separated in my early years, my parents provided their individual care and contributed to my development in their own loving way. They did not take off for foreign lands and assign me to the care of others. From one man to another, I can easily understand how a kid growing up can be warped by these circumstances. The family, regardless of how fractured, is still the most important feature of building the adult to cope with this world. Post adolescent exposure to the likes of Bill Ayers, Tony Rezko, Saul Alinsky and Rev. Wright can only have one outcome. How’s that working out for you?

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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