Thursday, March 28, 2013

Left Side of the Aisle #101 - Part 3

Clown Award: Plymouth County Sheriff Joe McDonald

The Clown Award, given for meritorious stupidity. This week the big red nose goes to our own Plymouth County Sheriff Joe McDonald.

So Sheriff Joe attended a GOPper St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in Scituate a week or so ago and told a supposed joke about Barack Obama getting assassinated. I assume you heard about this, but if you didn't, it involves him asking previous presidents for advice. Washington tells him, "never tell a lie." Jefferson says "respect the Constitution." Lincoln says "go to the theater."

The joke, if you can call it that, is utterly tasteless, especially at a time when gun violence is an issue before the nation. At the dinner it got, thankfully, only "scattered" laughter, according to reports, the audience apparently having better taste than McDonald did.

Instead of laughter, what McDonald did get - and which he apparently did not expect - was serious pushback from the blogosphere after the site Blue Mass Group posted an account. Now, you might think that the response of a reasonable person at this point would be to say something like "Well, okay, yeah, maybe it was kinda tasteless. It was only meant as a joke, I didn't mean to offend anyone. Sorry." And then move on.

But not our Joe, oh no, instead he went on about how the joke is 160 years old and was originally told about Andrew Johnson and has been applied to a number of presidents since.

And how is that supposed to make a difference? What, is this joke supposed to be like wine, getting better with age? Racist jokes, ethnic jokes, rape jokes, they've all been around that long and longer. Does make them okay? Hey, there were minstrel shows 160 years ago - maybe we should bring those back!

Now, obviously this joke isn't nearly as bad as those and I'm not saying it is. But the point remains that just because something has been said before doesn't make it any less tasteless - and I am amazed and rather appalled that he just doesn't seem to understand that.

In fact, not only doesn't he get it, he turned it into an opportunity to rant about "the transparent hypocrisy of the left" and to liken his critics to Nazis, saying "this is America in 2013, not Germany in 1936."

He even, to show how buffoonish the thing got, referred to some blog posts and said he had to "worry about being charged with treason." As the result of what, some comment on a blog? I can't figure out which is more absurd: the possibility that he takes such a notion seriously or the possibility that he expects the rest of us to.

One other thing: He referred to another joke he told which he said didn't get anyone upset. It was how Obama told the new pope that he was glad he, that is, Obama, didn't get elected because it would have been a step down from Messiah. Now, I can give you two reasons why that didn't upset people: One, it's funnier. Two, it's not about killing someone. Why is that so hard to understand?

Now, the truth is, McDonald was right about one thing: This so-called joke has been told by both sides about recent presidents of both parties - and not just presidents, as Hillary Clinton was also a butt of the joke. But that doesn't change the fact that joking about assassination, especially at a time when, again, gun violence is on people's minds, is utterly and thoroughly tasteless and the fact that Joe McDonald can't seem to recognize that but instead rants about "hypocrisy" and "Nazis" marks him as a total clown.


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