Politics, humor and why our politicians should lighten up


I am an optimist. I know this about myself. I always try to look at a situation from a “glass half full” perspective. I try to find the middle ground in most issues I write about.

That’s not always easy. 

I also try to point out the ludicrous, sometimes funny, sometimes not so funny, side of life and our politics.

Speaking of politics, why don’t politicians, on both sides, have a sense of humor anymore? Not that politics is always funny, but it appears to me that politicians today don’t ever give into their comedic side.

I, for one, would like to see our politicians at least tell a joke now and then. 

Some of history’s greatest politicians, in the midst of devastating, horrific times I might add, found humor a welcome release. If laughter is “good medicine,” I say, lighten up political parties and political people. Permit me to share some of my favorites.

At one point during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln said to Gen. George McClellan, who he was frustrated with for not engaging Robert E. Lee’s army, “My dear McClellan, if you don’t want to use the army, I should like to borrow it for a while.”

In the United Kingdom parliament, a statement was made that economic planning was baloney. Winston Churchill replied, “I should prefer to have an agreed definition of the meaning of ‘baloney’ before I attempt to deal with such a topic.”

Franklin Roosevelt once said, “I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough bad luck of the early worm.”

Ronald Reagan once said, jokingly, during a mic check at one of his Saturday evening broadcasts, “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve signed legislation outlawing the Soviet Union. We begin bombing in five minutes.”

That’s some funny stuff, wouldn’t you agree? 

Here are a few more:

One day while canvassing for an election, Churchill approached a person to ask for their support. The person exclaimed: “Vote for you? Why I’d rather vote for the devil!” 

“I understand,” said Churchill. “But in case your friend is not running, may I count on your support?” 

On another occasion, Churchill, when he was crossing the floor to join a different party, said of his (then) fellow colleagues in his party: “They are a class of right honorable gentlemen, all good men, all honest men, who are ready to make great sacrifices for their opinions, but they have no opinions. They are ready to die for the truth, if only they knew what the truth was.” 

While talking to a group on giving good speeches, Roosevelt said, “Be sincere, be brief, be seated.”

During a speech, Reagan once said, “Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”

During another speech, Reagan said when being needled about his age, “Thomas Jefferson once said, ‘we should never judge a president by his age, only his works.’  And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.”

Lincoln once said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than speak out and remove all doubt.”

I have an idea: Let’s all write to our legislators, both state and national, and ask them if they have heard any good jokes lately. You might be surprised by their responses. You may be adding a new joke to your bag of good one-liners.      


Richard Stride is the current CEO of Cascade Community Healthcare. He can be reached at drstride@icloud.com.