Satire and Politics – Entertaining, but Solution-less

As a nation founded on many freedoms, an American’s right to freely express him or herself under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution comes naturally for many of us. A privilege often taken for granted, which a myriad of countries are denied.

And while it is illegal in America to advocate overthrow of one’s government, as in most countries, it is perfectly legal to criticize it–politicians, the issues–through use of satire (though not always warmly accepted *cough* President Trump *cough*).

Enforcing political statements by way of satire dates back more than 2,000 years ago to comic playwright Aristophanes of ancient Athens and continued to transpire through the centuries.

Today, satire is wield by comedians on TV programs like Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon or via editorial cartoons by Patrick Chappatte printed in The New York Times. It’s exposed throughout magazines like The Onion or by radio personality Howard Stern on The Howard Stern Show.

Satire is a means for providing entertainment, particularly in the realm of modern politics. From another perspective, it also “intends to warn the public and to change their opinions about the prevailing corruption/conditions in society,” according to

However, the issue with satire is that it “establish[es] the error of matters rather than provide solutions,” according to What’s unsettling is how often our country chooses to depend on this technique to represent one of its greatest freedoms–freedom of speech–to entertain society and mock its political system rather than offer advice on how to improve the country’s state.

It’s a cop-out, America. It’s effortless. While citizens’ voices in the world’s most populated countries like China and India are banned to silence, while North Korean citizens and their families are sentenced to prison camps for speaking his or her opinion, Americans are channeling their opposition into creating parodies about our president’s comb over.

At times, unbiased humor poked at both political parties is entertaining, but it’s time the country relies less heavily on mockery and challenges itself to form solutions and unite in action rather than ridicule.

-JL Smith

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