Trending Tuesday: The Importance of Satire in the Trump Era
It's been a while since we've written a Trending Tuesday and we can only attribute that to being in a sort of funk since the election in November. For the past three months, the hottest topic in our country (and a good portion of the world) has been President Trump. We were hoping that the President would surprise us, fly under the radar, take himself out of the headlines, do a little good, and we could all go about living our blissfully ignorant lives for the next four years. Unfortunately, that hasn't the case and now is the time to speak out about it.
Since the President was sworn in, there have been more protests than days of his presidency. The Women's March on Washington drew larger crowds than the inauguration and the numbers across the U.S. made it the largest protest in our nation's history. That fact alone speaks volumes. Protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline have started up again as Trump signed executive orders allowing the pipeline projects in the Dakotas to move forward. A Day Without Immigrants saw immigrant workers and allies strike to show just how important immigrants are to our economy. #NotMyPresidentsDay trended on Twitter yesterday as people voiced their displeausure with the current state of the union. But the fight doesn't stop after the protests and hashtags, day in and day out we have to fight for our rights and for our voices not to be silenced. Going out and peacefully protesting is possibly the most straight-forward and effective way to share our voices (aside from calling our representatives and letting them know that we oppose nominees and bills), but there are other ways that we can make a difference. Each and every one of us has the power to change the landscape of the America we have found ourselves in -- for anyone who has said "I wonder what I would've done during WWII when the Nazis were committing genocide" or "I wonder how I could've made a difference in the Civil Rights movement", this is our time. Now is the time to make sure that our words and beliefs aren't empty and the answers and methods we can use are often simple.
One of the most talked about headlines in regards to Trump in the past couple of months has been Saturday Night Live and their satirical portrayal of the Trump administration. Since Alec Baldwin started doing his impression of Trump, there have been countless reports of the displeasure that the White House has received these sketches with. Not to mention that SNL's wide audience is getting a taste of the political climate whether they are political or not. Oblivious or apathetic Americans who tune in to NBC on Saturday nights may not think that politics are important or that the state of our nation affects them, but seeing these sketches (as satirical as they may be) gives these people the chance to get informed where they might otherwise not. "In a time when polls show many Americans distrust the mainstream media, it may just take SNL and comedians to be the voices of reason. Here's hoping that week after week SNL helps make America laugh again at Trump -- and his administration." (-Dean Obeidallah, CNN)
Another key aspect of the SNL sketches is that female actors have played the roles of two key Whitehouse cabinet members (Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer and Kate McKinnon as Jeff Sessions) something that is not likely to escape the misogynistic eye of President Trump. “'Trump doesn’t like his people to look weak.'” This speaks volumes about Trump’s concept of weakness and strength — particularly since the cross-gender casting isn’t what made the “Sean Spicer Press Conference” go viral. It was because the sketch was incredibly funny, thanks to McCarthy’s comedic mastery." (Elahe Izadi, Washington Post)
Women are finding themselves at the forefront of this revolution (a position we aren't unaccustomed to throughout history) and whether that be by marching the streets in pink knitted hats or by putting on a bald cap and playing a prominent man on TV, we are more than capable of dealing some deadly blows to this administration and to the racially oppressive, bigoted, patriarchy that the United States has allowed itself to continue to be. It's 2017 and we're still fighting the same fights our parents and grandparents fought for -- we do not live in a post-racial, love-is-equal, gender-inclusive, immigrant-friendly society and if you think we do, you need to open your eyes.
Keep up the good fight, keep calling your representatives, keep holding your signs in the street, keep those fists held high, keep sharing those Facebook posts, keep discrediting fake news, keep educating yourself, keep supporting the arts, keep protecting those who need protected, and keep using humor to fight hatred. Because your voices and your laughter are being heard and their sounds are echoing within the walls of the Oval Office.