Stephen Colbert - infamous for his ability to make Americans laugh about the sometimes heart-breaking absurdities of politics - is getting cranky. Some of the quotes from his coverage of the Republican National Convention include:
"Ryan stretching the truth to make his speech more effective is just another form of doping. In that, if you believe him, you are a dope."
"That's a great new slogan. Fox News: Shut Up And Watch."
"'Our dining room table was a fold-down ironing board in the kitchen' -- Ann Romney
Can you imagine? It must have been so awkward when the maid interrupted their dinner to iron."
"The lame-stream nit-pick patrol are now saying there were other times when Ryan misrepresented the facts in his speech. Here's when they say he was lying - riiiiight there when he starts moving his lips!"
Election cycles are grueling. In 2004, I was agitated between the rock and a harder place of Kerry and Bush. I wasn't enthusiastic about John Kerry but I also didn't like the jingoist war-mongering of Bush's presidency. In 2008, I was considerably perturbed to see McCain - a maverick whose views I didn't agree with but whose integrity I had always respected - devolve into a politician pandering to the lowest common denominator. This election, I have been transfixed by the candidacy of Mitt Romney: his endless flip-flopping, handy ease with facts, and irritation towards dissent remind me of Mormon authorities in a way that invokes unpleasant memories of my past. Then Romney picked Paul Ryan as a running mate and the situation has been devolving ever since. Last week's Republican convention made me long for the old 'Etch-A-Sketch' days, when people assumed Romney would once again shift to a centrist position after securing his party's nomination.
I thought elections couldn't get any worse than the last one. But in the past four years, I have watched our legislators squabble like children, forgetting the people whom they have sworn to uphold and serve. Working together to solve the problems of our nation seems to be a dim memory.
I don't know what the outcome of this election will be. When a comedian whose job is to make people laugh at the absurd runs out of jokes, I find myself afraid for the future of my country. What is in store for us as a nation? Will we allow our politicians to continue distorting facts and blocking necessary legislation on partisan grounds? Or will we dig deep as a nation and demand a higher standard of the people we have elected to serve us?
Jon Huntsman Jr, former Governor of Utah and Ambassador to China, came onto the Colbert Report last week. When Stephen Colbert asked him about the future of the Republican party, his response was:
"It's got to be more. It's got to have a heart and soul. It's got to have solutions for this country. When was the last time we sat down as a people and talked about solutions?"