In case you didn’t know or couldn’t guess, the nation’s capital is a pretty depressing place to be these days. Everyday, I commute to Washington DC for work. I sit on the train and navigate sidewalks crowded with dejected Washingtonians wearing faces that seem to be in mourning for our country. And I get it. Personally, I’d rather be anywhere else than DC but daily I dutifully make my way to my office which has the real estate misfortune to share a block with the home of President Trump, arguably to source of this nationwide melancholy.
However, Trump happened to be the source of some much needed comedy yesterday. He took to Twitter to complain about something or the other but his would-be ridiculous rant was marred by a more ridiculous typo that sent the Internet into a whirlwind of memes, gifs and retweets at the president’s expense. By midday, I’d seen so many #Covfefe tags I could hardly breath for laughing.
— Kristina Wong ❄️ (@mskristinawong) May 31, 2017
Unfortunately, #covfefe wasn’t all that went down in the world yesterday. That day also brought with it a tragic car bombing in Kabul that killed at least 80 people. And once again, we found ourselves submerged in a sea of sadness for the state of the world. And #covfefe didn’t seem to matter too much in the grand scheme of government problems. After all, it became obvious that there were more important things happening on our planet that deserve to go as viral as Trump’s typo. Right?
But ya’ll, #covfefe is funny. And honestly, it’s okay to laugh once in a while because if I didn’t laugh, I’d die. Seriously. Every single day something else happens to break down your hope in the world: Another Trump family scandal, another Russian relations investigation, another person stabbed in a hate crime, another cop going unpunished for taking a Black life, another international tragedy. If I can find something to laugh at in this fucked up administration, isn’t that a good thing?
We wannabe-intellectuals seem to take pleasure in calling people out as not really being politically engaged if they choose to live Tweet Scandal Thursdays instead of watching the State of the Union or if they get their news from The Daily Show instead of MSNBC. But jumping on a silly viral trend and being outraged by government injustices are not mutually exclusive. I laughed at #covfefe, I cried after reading about Kabul. I won’t apologize for either. Judging people for laughing at #covfefe won’t make the Kabul bombing more sad or more important.
“If we wanted to, we could burn the world down for what we have experienced, what we are experiencing. But we don’t.” That’s a saying that goes around a lot in the Black community but I think my fellow American smarty pants could learn a little something from it. Finding something to smile about doesn’t mean we don’t take real world issues seriously. On the contrary, humor and entertainment is how a lot of us engage in political discourse in the first place. How many people only know who Sean Spicer is through the hilarious SNL sketches featuring Melissa McCarthy? Who else gets caught up on the news of the day by seeing what’s trending on Twitter?
I spend all day in DC reading and writing about global tragedies and listening to pundits debate about the atrocities of the Trump administration. Then I go home and watch South Park and Family Guy. Not because I don’t care about the work I did that day, but because if I spent all day panicking about all the ways society is dying around me, I’d stop wanting to live. And I have to believe to keep doing this good work of keeping y’all informed through any means necessary.
So as I made my way to Pennsylvania Avenue today, I subconsciously hoped the long faces surrounding me saw a funny #covfefe meme before they left the house this morning and that it gives them something to smile about before they see what the less funny things trending in the world today.
Laugh #unapologetically. It could save your sanity.