One time, I came across this amusing news item: “In Pancho Cucamonga, California, two candidates are running for Mayor. But both are named Dennis Stout. Nobody wants to back out. So a third candidate has emerged hoping to profit from the confusion at the polls.”

Here also is something about another Dennis: “A legendary brothel owner named Dennis Hof won a state assembly seat in Nevada, despite being deceased.” Probably, his people never bothered to inform the electorate he died during the campaign period.

Amused? Here’s more.

Two years ago, the primary physician to US President Donald Trump said in a live news conference that Trump is blessed with a genetic makeup that would be the envy of the Greco-Roman gods and that his “incredible genes” could sustain him into a second century of life. The performance so impressed his boss that the physician was immediately tapped to head the Department of Veterans Affairs until his nomination was derailed by allegations that he drank on the job and had a reputation of creating a hostile workplace environment wherever he worked.

Then at the White House, Trump once again proved to be a s—-r because he spent valuable time listening to another flatterer, this time a notorious rapper who profusely praised him about his “dragon energy” and then went on gabbing about alternative universes, hydrogen-powered airplanes, four-dimensional chess and “how to be malleable in the infinite universe.”

That reminds me about a certain first lady of the land who would endlessly croon about the good, true, beautiful and the godly to any one in front of her who had no choice but to lend an ear to her spacey speculations cosmic holes in the sky over the Philippines that could be harnessed to stop nuclear missiles. To think that lady wielded so much political power and authority once upon a blighted time.

How about elected public servants using their positions of power to stretch ethical boundaries to the point of ludicrousness, unreasonable and impossible to take seriously. One spent his government funds to fly his pet animal around in a jet, while another allegedly spent money from his office budget to buy a food-service franchise for his wife.

Now turn to our local politics. You look, listen, and then laugh. Someone quipped that it’s a rigodon de la tsubibo. It’s all about themselves. No lofty discourses about saving and lifting the nation from the abysmal state it is in right now. When asked about it, what you get is something dismissive or almost disdainful such as: “I am withdrawing because I am withdrawing. Do I look like a mockery to you?” Or something as vacuous as “I don’t like to make a comment. Let’s just let the voters decide.”

One may feel aghast or dismayed but the better attitude is to laugh. What we are getting from the daily news are good materials for a series of sharp witty comedy skits. I am reminded of that classic Marx brothers movie “Duck Soup,” where the maniacs take over the government, something similar to the wacky comedy idea of patients taking over the mental asylum. As the Maximus character in the movie Gladiator spitefully bellowed to the audience: “Are you not entertained?”

Yes, we are entertained and we laugh, but then you also can’t help but weep because it hurts, knowing many of these fools are doing it at our expense, meaning our tax money.

It is all an opera buffa as the Italians call it or opera bouffon as the French prefer to label that genre of opera performed in the 1800s. That’s where we got the term buffon, because the said type of opera usually featured a clown, a character who does silly things, usually to make other people laugh for comic relief.

The opera buffa had a local equivalent: bodabil. That genre of live entertainment is now gone but in my younger days, I was able to catch bodabil in its dying years. One of the highlights was the hilarious exchange between of Popoy and Poleng, the featured buffons of those shows.

That’s how I now see our politicians who make their entrances and exits on the national entablado—ludicrous persons paid by taxpayers’ money to entertain us. Never mind the country.

Remember Mad Magazine? It was a source of absurdist satire aimed at everything from sacred cows to the profoundly stupid. I remember when the said magazine turned 60 years old, it featured a fiery headline “Welcome to Election Hell.” It exemplified the magazine’s style of political humor, blending trenchant critique with hyberbolic exaggeration of political humor.

Researchers at the University of Southern California have been examining the humorist’s role in people’s politics. “Humor provides a salve in times of trouble,” one sociologist explained. “It provides a moment of redress when you need to speak truth to power. And sometimes comedy, when it’s the most successful, is the absolute truth.”

That’s probably what we need right now. Our local politics at the moment are ripe for absurdity. We need subversive comedy shows like Saturday Night Live that will look for the absurd angle to any story and reveal the emperor not wearing any clothes.

Where are our comic artists when we need their transgressive humor? Whatever happened to the local TV programs in the late ’80s and early ’90s that had this type of comedy, poking fun at our political figures so they don’t get too enamored about themselves?

This is probably the problem with our politicians. They’re too full of themselves. An example is the scene up north where a father and son are challenging each other for the same position. They don’t want to give up even if they know a sure defeat awaits one of them.

It stems from basic human nature. Pride. The desire to be the star of one’s own movie, but the trouble is they don’t know they are our present-day Popoys and Polengs in today’s political bodabil.

Laughing at our politicians just might be the best medicine for our sick society. Without them, life would be unbearably boring.

But here’s a warning from Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish thinker who helped spawn the philosophy of existentialism. It is in the form of a parable: “A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that’s just how the world will come to an end: to general applause from wits who believe it’s a joke.”

Meaning, we can’t just sit back and enjoy it all and do nothing. In the final analysis, the joke could be on us. So let’s really be serious about our choices in the next election and all elections thereafter.

Sometime ago, a blind man won as councilor of a city in the southern part of the Philippines. The voters reasoned that they wanted him to be their guileless “eye” in making sure no corrupt deals would pass through the city council. And he played his role to the hilt. Being totally blind enabled him to listen more intently to people’s problems and grievances and get a real feel about their plight.

How I wish we could elect more blind people into office who will “see” the problems of society and give us better insights on governance, instead of the usual politicians who only see themselves and listen only to their own needs and interests.

Blind people leading us? Before you scoff and laugh, think more about it.

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