Silly Politics! You Make Me Laugh

Over the past few years, I’ve been increasing my interest in politics because I have learned that it not only involves every aspect of my life but it has also replaced my need for superficial reality TV. I was all about Sarah Palin in 2008 because she supplied comedy for me on a regular basis (nothing gets better than real life stupidity—jokes are just redundant). In politics, the jokes just keep coming: a couple religious men are making decisions on women’s health (so funny, because they think it’s still 1943!), rich politicians saying they can relate to average Americans (it’s like when Pepé Le Pew doesn’t realize he’s a skunk), and best of all, middle class Americans really believe these guys. Like, who on earth actually wants to support rich White men become richer and more oppressive?

Sociology has a lot to say about this. It’s called social identity theory (SIT)and you better watch out for it or it might bite you! According to SIT, people tend to classify themselves into different social categories (known as in-groups), which by association yields people to in-group pressures. Everyone is susceptible to this and it can get pretty nasty. It’s essentially the foundation of racism where people start associating themselves in one social category and build up their self-esteem by making positive statements about their in-group. Their association enables them to blindly follow whatever their in-group says and believes, even if it is wrong or hurts them as members of the in-group. Examples of this are the Nazi party and the Hutus in Rwanda. In the U.S., our group associations haven’t gotten us that far but I can clearly see SIT coming to life before my very eyes when I see how many of the conservative Americans are supporting politicians who aren’t offering them any help. In fact, many of these politicians have several plans to hurt their supporters, like raising their taxes and withdrawing healthcare coverage. These guys are not in our best interests, yet we support them anyway.

I love the interview Jon Stewart has with Bruce Bartlett about lowering the tax on the rich while raising the taxes for everyone else. Jon asks rhetorically, “Who does that appeal to? What is that even politically aimed at?” Bruce responds by saying it doesn’t make logical sense. Seriously, the best source of comedy is politics. What isn’t funny about Americans supporting plutocracy?

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