And this, my friends, is the double-edged sword of digesting information through humor. The good natured ribbing Drumpf receives from late night talk shows like Jimmy Fallon—which make it seem like he's just messing around, "saying things that are un-PC to piss off the femi-nazis and race baiters"—only serves to humanize, endear, and ingratiate him to those who vote on the basis of emotional impulse, rather than measured consideration.
There are over two million US citizens across the United States who voted for Drumpf yesterday. At worst, these people are traitors who deserve to be tried by the same tribunal that determined the fate of Nazi spy Herbert Hans Haupt.
We live in a country where very bad things happen to very good people, and we don't have the time, or luxury to laugh about the fact that Drumpf won't disavow and repudiate the KKK.
At best, these are people who have heard since the election of Nixon in 1968 that the "silent majority" of Americans preferred life in the 1950s before the Civil Rights and Women's Rights movements; since the election of Reagan in 1980 that government can do nothing to better people's lives, except feed the largesse of "Cadillac welfare queens;" and have heard over the past eight years from Fox News, Breitbart, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, etc. that President Obama is a secret Muslim, born in Kenya, who has trampled over the Constitution with his tyrannical attempts to snatch up guns, foment racial resentment toward white Americans, and flood the US with "illegal immigrants" who can cross the US-Mexico border willy nilly, bringing their ISIS agent friends pretending to be Syrian refugees with them.
Never mind the fact that these are all lies—especially the claim that this President has not been the most hyper-aggressive, anti-immigrant law enforcer in the history of the US, because he has—what matters here is that in an effort to avoid tension and conflict, American pop culture space just clicks on our defense mechanism of putting things to the back of our minds via humor. And to paraphrase Maya Angelou, people will forget what you said, but they'll remember how you made them feel.
And that through all of this long windedness is what I am trying to alert everyone to. There are George W Bush voters who liked Will Farrell's impression of him on Saturday Night Live so much that this parody contributed to their decision to vote for him. This humorous tool intended to create doubt about him had the opposite effect and contributed to the "who would you rather have a beer with?" effect. By using humor on Trump right now, this pattern is replicating itself. Jimmy Fallon should not make jokes in his opening monologue about Trump's unwillingness to repudiate the KKK.
The day after that happened should have been treated like the day late night talk shows returned after 9/11. We should have taken a moment to bemoan our national shame that an organization whose raison d'etre was and remains to terrorize Black Americans, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, Muslims, Jews, and Catholics, exists in 2016, and to denounce the fact that a public figure seeking national office would not denounce them.
Further, and more importantly, all of the shows that have given Trump a platform should have issued apologies to We The People, and signed a pledge promising not to grant him any more airtime. Saturday Night Live let this KKK supporter host an entire episode, and Lorne Michaels and NBC owe us an apology, and this commitment. Any daytime or late night talk show that has given him a platform also owes us an apology and this commitment.
We live in a country where Black Lives Matter declares, "Stop Killing Us," and no police department or neighborhood watch says, "that sounds reasonable." We live in a country where 3 million men, women, and children have been deported in the last eight years alone, and where over 400,000 each night languish in detention centers without access to attorneys. We live in a country where hate crimes and incivility are on the rise: The KKK is marching openly down the street from Disneyland, Latinos are getting stabbed in Lake Los Angeles for being brown, Black women are being shoved and called n*gg*r and c*nt at political rallies, and transmen and transwomen—especially those from communities of color—are being murdered, beaten, humiliated, mistreated, misclassified, and in no way protected by any law enforcement agency, legislature, or immigration office.
We live in a country where very bad things happen to very good people, and we don't have the time, or luxury to laugh about the fact that Drumpf won't disavow and repudiate the KKK. We don't have the time or the luxury to allow the late night shows from SNL to Jimmy Fallon to pretend as though they are disarming him through humor, because they are not.
They are pouring sugar and saccharine into the cyanide and arsenic that is flooding our popular discourse with the ease and lack of accountability that made it possible to forever scar the lives of the children of Flint, Michigan, the Navajo Nation, and everywhere else that lead is destroying communities tap after tap, well after well, and day after day.