The Power of Satire

American Freedom Of Political Humor

The Power of Satire

Most Americans don’t recognize how lucky they are to be living in a free country where they can make jokes about their leaders. The power of satire shows when entire TV stations and various media outlets are solely dedicated to making fun of presidents. It is something that never happened and probably will never occur in any other country on earth. Even laws are set in place to prevent prosecution of any media personality who would mock the president. Everybody is welcome to say whatever they want, and no one could force them into silence.
The crucial role that satire plays in the political scene is its ability to humanize those who are in power, so it is easier to stand against them. In some way, satire brings down influential political figures to the level of everyday people. Therefore, those leaders are no longer god-like people who live in ivory towers, after all, they are just public servants albeit with tremendous amount of power.

What these “public servants” don’t understand is that their power comes with a lot of responsibility. It is not much of a privilege, but they must be prepared for heaps of criticism all the time because they are elected to do a certain job. In many countries in the third-world, and it looks like America has caught the flu, people who come to power think it is a privilege, and they insist that people must love, respect, and fear them. Satire is the complete opposite; it’s on a mission to expose that fake respect. It downplays that air of fear, it pisses them off and they hate it for doing that to them.

The Rise and fall of Bassem Youssef

In countries like Egypt, mocking the leaders is not just forbidden, but it is outright blasphemy. Sure, those leaders are supposedly “democratic,” they encourage free speech. However, that’s all just an outer layer hiding a much more horrible reality.
In Egypt, there is always a limit to satire. Nobody has ever managed to cross that limit because they either end up in jail or worse, killed. Nobody can really make jokes about Egyptian leaders, those who dare will be harassed by the government into submission or just flee the country altogether. Like Dr. Bassem Youssef who is considered the “Jon Stewart of Egypt,” the host of the most popular TV show in the history of the Arab world.

He started with a satirical YouTube channel during the Egyptian revolution of 2011. Just at the beginning of the Egyptian revolution of 2011 and the Arab Spring broke out, Youssef fiercely satirized the Islamists and the military which took power and his show ignited. Around 30 million of viewers waited for his TV show every week to watch him satirize the cosmic conspiracy on Egypt.

Bassem’s detractors belittled and ridiculed him, but the joke was on them all along. Ultimately, Youssef was censored and forced to flee Egypt. His collapse was triggered by a segment mocking Islamist president Mohamed Morsi’s hat in 2013. In March, a warrant was issued for his arrest because he insulted the president and Islam because, of course, the president is the representative of Allah on earth. Islamists cannot handle criticism; it is not in their playbook. They are hiding behind a religious ideology that demands strict submission and obedience.

Political Intolerance

Youssef turned himself in as he already knew it was just a matter of time, the funny thing is that prosecutors and security forces were his fans, taking selfies with him as he went willingly to the public prosecutor’s office. However, Bassem was released on bail, but his days were numbered because just three months later, the military removed and jailed president Morsi, deactivated the constitution, and enforced martial law.

He found it hard to continue his show, with the new regime taking over. In Egypt, the military is even more sacred than religion, more sacred than Mother Egypt herself. He wanted to stop the show but decided to go on with it as his fans supported him. However, it didn’t last long; he was crippled by a flood of lawsuits and abusive legal verdicts. The final blow arrived in the form of a whopping 100 million EGP fine, the largest penalty in the history of Egyptian media. He had to flee before he is jailed and put on no-fly list.

It’s all about the People

In third-world countries, whether it is under the military or religious rule the leaders are put on a pedestal. They are equated with God, religion, and homeland. Their pictures are put on everything and everywhere, the national media praise and portray them as saviors, and the thought of rebelling is bombarded by a general sense of futility. A futility that nothing make a difference, and all you can do is submit to the status quo.

It is up to the people to take the power of satire beyond the theater and TV set and translate into action in the real world. While satire is the most powerful antidote against dictatorship, if people don’t act then it remains just a healthy exercise of blowing steam. Satire, alone, is not potent enough to make a change. Of course, it can funnily expose the truth, but ultimately, the change comes from people taking action.

American Political Comedy

Finally, people in America are lucky because their leaders can take a joke. There’s a difference between waging war against satire and comedy that is not ill-intentioned. You only need to look at the recent case of Kathy Griffin to get the point. With all that said, there are still barriers to bring down, and more jokes to be told. Because people just need to lighten up.
Today, the authoritarian threat in America is quickly becoming a reality and one of the best ways to fight it is making fun of it through the power of satire. That’s what makes America different than any other country on earth, you can laugh at your leader, and it is something to be proud of.

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Strength And The Presidency

Grover Cleveland President That Hid Surgery

Strength And The Presidency

How do strength and the Presidency go together? It is hard to imagine The President Of The United States Of America in anything other than good health. After all they are the figurehead of the greatest nation on earth today. The POTUS has access to the best doctors, the most advanced medical techniques and an almost unlimited proactive healthcare budget. When is the last time you heard of The President having something so small as a common cold? Can’t think of one. Lets be serious for a moment, The President is a human being just like you and I. President Reagan had some issues in the 80’s but that was quickly swept under the rug, in typical US political hush hush manner, and he went on to complete a his 2 term Presidency successfully.

In recent years President Grover Cleveland’s oral cancer tumor has been spotlighted in the media. On display at the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia but this is just one of the many US Presidents whom have had medical issues while in office. Wilson, Roosevelt and even Kennedy had medical ailments while in office that were not openly discussed.

Looking Deeper

What are the implications of coming forward with medical issues of The President Of The United States?

Most importantly the view of The Nation in the eyes of the world. Being a world super power leaked information on unhealthy American leader can give countries around the world an opinion that America itself is weak. Almost as if The President is the spokesperson for the health of the US. While the health of one person absolutely does not implicate the health of the nation it is easy to see how general populous abroad can come to that conclusion. Especially in the case of global summits such as G20. Can you imagine what would happen to the popular opinion if the US President himself did not attend?

Public Opinion

Secondly, the US general public. With a President in poor health the economy and overall moral will suffer. This was the main reason cited by Grover Cleveland to have his tumor removed out of the public eye. Part of The Presidents job is to keep moral of the people in check. You can think of it like children to a parent. When your mom or dad gets sick, how do you react? You are pre-occupied. You may find it hard to focus, be late to work and not preform to you best ability. This mental pre-occupation will have negative economic effects which will be nationwide.

Military Moral

Lastly, our military. As Commander-In-Chief our military looks to him as top rank over every NCO or Officer in rank. Even higher than the Secretary Of Defense of which he appointed. Our military is physically and mentally strong and ready to deploy at a moments notice. There is no question. However will the rest of the world know that? Would a President in ill health signal an open door to test our military might? I sincerely doubt it.

This is an article with personal opinion. I invite you to leave yours below in the comments section. How would knowing your President is ill effect your daily goings on?