#Dumbkirk & the Benefits of Ridiculing Trumpsters From #Sinking to “woman & klansmen first!,” failed boat parade lifts opposition tide

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After four years of bottomless hypocrisy, insults and over 20,000 verified lies, Trump not only invites ridicule, he deserves it.

With deceit at the core of both his governance and reelection strategy, one can safely say that the best way to know President Trump is lying is that his lips are moving.

The sinking of four small pleasure boats last weekend during the MAGA-flag waving Trump Boat Parade at Lake Travis Texas created a ridicule-laden tweet fest last weekend, causing the ingenious #Dumbkirk to become one of the top trending hashtags on September 5.

A Forbes headline Saturday read, “As Trump Parade Boats Sink In Texas, So Are The President’s Polling Numbers.”

That the wakes from the powerful yachts of the top 1% swamped the modest boats of poorer folks, who then needed to call for help from taxpayer financed “socialized” emergency services, was one of the event’s many comic opportunities. @Halloweenblogs tweeted, “What a perfect metaphor for what GOP big dollar donors are doing to the little guy.”

Perhaps the most liked comments of the day came from @AdrianCovert, who observed,

“The USS Thoughts & Prayers was dispatched to rescue an armada of Trump supporters whose vessels were sunk by an onslaught of large blue waves. Asked for comment about the incident, the President remarked ‘I like boats that don’t sink.”

Rounding off the day’s funniest tweets were:

“Losers and suckers brigade”

“Miracle at #Dumbkirk”

“Women and klansmen first!”

 

One advantage of humor and ridicule is that it provides the many millions of us fighting against Trump’s corrupt tide with relief from the anxiety we feel over the prospect of Trump stealing the November election. Laughing is easier than worrying or yelling, and sometimes more effective.

Humor can be a persuasive political tool.  While it is unlikely to budge diehard fake news-chanting Trumpsters, it might convince some of their undecided family members, friends or neighbors not to follow their lead when casting ballots.

Recent polls show that about 5% of voters remain undecided. By definition, many of these are tuned out of political news.  Summarizing her Ohio State University study a few years ago about the use of political satire, Professor Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick explained “satirical news could be a gateway into more serious news use for people who aren’t currently engaged in politics.”

As Elesa Zehndorfer wrote in a Psychology Today blog post last year, “humor offers an impressive tool of resistance and political commentary, perhaps even acting as a powerful arbiter of morality. Laughter allows fear and anger to dissipate, which ultimately encourages more communication and less hostility, enabling us to cross partisan lines.”

A story in The Atlantic last month by Anne Applebaum told of the success that Srdja Popovic, who helped lead a Serbian youth movement that toppled dictator Slobodan Milošević, experienced using what he called the “power of laughtivism” because  “humor melts fear.” Mockery, Applebaum wrote, “removes the aura of an authoritarian party or leader, making followers more willing to listen to alternatives.”

Closer to home, Applebaum interviewed Steve Schmidt, co-founder of the highly effective Lincoln Project. Schmidt advises that the spell that Trump casts over the autocratic personality cult of his followers needs to be broken by “aggressive, even vulgar laughter” before any political messages can be considered by them. “Diminish them, mock them, and laugh at them,” Schmidt said. “Punch back hard before you lose the ability to do it. The side arguing from democratic values should not be the soft side in the debate. It should be ferocious.”

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Jonathan Greenberg

Jonathan Greenberg is editor and owner of the award winning Sonoma Independent website, which serves the public interest with insight, solutions and advocacy. Jonathan is an investigative financial journalist with 40 years of experience with national publications, including Forbes, The Washington Post, The New York Times, New York, Town & Country. Mother Jones and The New Republic. During the past few years, Jonathan wrote four of the most widely-read exposes about Donald Trump’s career published in the Washington Post. Jonathan was the notorious Forbes 400 reporter who taped two long calls in 1984 in which Trump pretended to be John Barron. Jonathan’s Washington Post expose about this was the subject of monologues on Colbert, the Daily Show and Seth Meyers. Jonathan has appeared live on a dozen major news shows, including on CNN with Chris Cuomo, Erin Burnett and Don Lemon, on MSNBC with Ari Berber and Ali Velshi, and NPR's On the Media. A fuller bio and links to Jonathan's work can be found at JonathanGreenberg.com. Jonathan is a new media entrepreneur and was the founder of Gist.com, an acclaimed Web 1.0 company that won the first annual Webby Awards in 1997. In 2006, Jonathan founded Progressive Source Communications, the parent company of The Sonoma Independent. Progressive Source is a public interest communications company that creates multimedia websites, videos and digital advocacy campaigns that build public awareness of solutions that serve the common good.

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