Laugh: at comedians dabbling in Politics
You may think current politics is low-hanging fruit for comedians, but there’s an art to it and it’s experiencing a kind of a renaissance right now. May we point you in the direction of Saturday Night Live? The comedic team are experts in impressions especially with Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump, Maya Rudolph as Kamala Harris, Jim Carrey as Joe Biden and the endlessly talented Kate McKinnon playing everyone from Jeff Sessions to Hillary Clinton. Find their clips on SNL’s YouTube channel or NBC.com. If you want something based in real life, try watching a White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Trump didn’t attend his, but Hassan Minhaj held his own despite delivering jokes to a room filled with people who were mostly afraid to laugh. At Obama’s 2015 Correspondents’ Dinner, Keegan-Michael Key played Luther, Obama’s “anger translator.” Have the patience for something longer and more crude? Try Borat 2. Admittedly it’s not for the faint of heart. For an honest conversation with a comedian, try watching Dave Chappelle’s conversation with David Letterman on Netflix’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.
SING-A-LONG: to a musical set in pivotal political moments
A rap and hip-hop musical set in the early stages of the United States’ founding? Yes, it works. And it’s called Hamilton and the accompanying music conjured by the brilliant mind of Lin-Manuel Miranda is catchy – and entirely available on Spotify. Need some distance from U.S. politics and modern history? We feel you. Try Les Misérables. There are good versions and hot garbage versions, and ultimately the book is the best, but it is a great story. It blends all kinds of human emotions, conditions and flaws with love, compassion and redemption, all set against a backdrop of a political revolution. It’s like you can hear the people singing. (Only real fans will get that bad joke.)
LISTEN: to something substantive
At this point, if you’re watching political debates to find answers – what’s the point? Same goes with grandiose speeches. Move away from the policy talk and campaign promises until the next election and instead turn to a lecture or motivational speech. On TED.com, there’s a blog post dedicated to recommendations of talks about learning from failure. The list includes Diana Laufenburg’s “How to learn? From Mistakes.” In the same vein, if you’re aching for some real leadership, try Roselinde Torres’ “What makes a great leader?” or Simon Sinek’s “Why leaders eat last.”
LOOK: to the future
There’s this tradition in team sports where both teams, win or lose, line up, extend their hands for a handshake or high-five, and congratulate each other after a game. Well… you can’t do that right now because we’re in the middle of pandemic. Sorry. Instead call or email the winner to congratulate them, introduce yourself and tell them what issues you hope they’ll prioritize. If winning candidates only hear from their fervent supporters, important future decisions like raising taxes, downtown revitalization and other issues, won’t have your input. (Yes, we’re thinking local – those elected leaders you stand a chance to reach on the phone, or attend a virtual town hall.) For those who didn’t win, congratulate them anyway on a campaign well run. It’s been a weird season for everyone and who knows, maybe they’ll run again. If for some reason you don’t really didn’t have a dog in this race, call your local leader anyway and tell them what partnerships you’d like to see with the new/continuing leaders in town. This is a good teaching moment for kids too. Allow them to write a letter to the winner outlining their priorities to get them civically engaged. Good sportsmanship doesn’t have to die, even in a particular strange election season.