I was pondering today Tina Fey's brilliant but altogether unfair portrayals of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live. If one takes Lorne Michaels' perspective on Sarah Palin, one would think that no one, other than George Bush (another of Michael's whipping children) can surpass her stupidity. This isn't accurate…or fair. It is pretty funny.
It seems to me that given the fact many Americans have been thrown under the bus at some point by those that are supposed to be their leaders, it's getting harder to follow. And, as America's distrust of leadership grows, our caricaturing and condescension helps us, in some way, process the frustration we feel at how things are going.
Over time, if we are not careful, we may become a nation of mediocre armchair quarterbacks who really believe that what seems amazingly obvious to us is just simply missed by those people in positions of leadership…who are obviously not as smart as we are. We may come to think, over time, "If they could see as clearly as I do on my computer screen or on my TV, they wouldn't make the idiotic decisions they make. Any moron can see that's a bad idea." This is seldom actually the case.
There is no question that leaders make some awful decisions (pick your favorite from this past week). Nevertheless, it seems to me that a lack of civility (and our tolerance of it), is bad medicine for us in the long run. This doesn't mean that we can't have opinions, or try to persuade others to them passionately. It does mean that, ugliness, condescension, and all their children do more to create an environment of disrespect than of authentic humor and genuine public discourse. We now see anyone and anything as fodder for humor…and that of even the most ugly type.
Jesus says that it is out of the heart the mouth speaks. Because of this, I'm concerned about our collective soul. Christians can lead the way here, by submitting our views, passion for them, and humor to the Lordship of Christ.
I love to laugh, and love making fun of people's quirks. It's one of life's great joys in my book…but it's His book that should govern how and if it happens.