At some point in their movie career, every comedian- in hopes of being taken more seriously as an actor- will take on a dramatic role. By starring in a challenging film void of any laughs- as Adam Sandler did in Punch-Drunk Love or Eddie Murphy did in Norbit- these talented individuals shed the "he's just a clown" label.
But the Republican Party, the clown prince of politics, seems content on crapping out one Ace Ventura: Pet Detective sequel after another, collecting a fat paycheck, and turning down any screenplay of substance. "Nope. My audience doesn't want to hold hearings for the next Supreme Court justice. They only like fart jokes."
I don't think that's true, though. Yes, enough drunken trolls might stumble into the theater so that your insipid movie ekes out a profit. But your true fans would like you to take chances. And even if they don't, a comedic performer cannot rest on his laurels. Or hardys. Artists- like Jim Carrey and Louie CK and Chris Rock and definitely not Andrew Dice Clay- have been met with both success and failure as they've taken on more complex projects. But at least they tried. The Republican Party, on the other hand, has lost its will to try.
Liberals tend to mock the Republican Party for what it is. However, I mourn the Republican Party for what it's not... and for what it can be. For America needs a strong Republican Party. Yes, we all love goofy movies; the Libertarian Party and the Green Party are comedic gems, filled with ridiculous wacky characters and laugh-out-loud dialogue. Heck, I've seen Happy Gilmore more times than I can count. (That's an exaggeration. I can count to four.) But audiences wish for more than just one serious movie in the theaters. Could you imagine if the Academy Awards didn't have enough films to nominate? The telecast would barely make it to three hours long.
But I digress.
Chicago is on a record homicide pace, most of the murders involving gang violence in poor neighborhoods. This is a real issue. This is a real thing. Yes, we can debate the controversies of which bathroom Caitlyn Jenner should use and Hillary Clinton sending government emails on a private server or she sent private emails on a public server or whichever it was that made it a "scandal" and a gun's right to own a smaller gun and all the other nonsense that's making America great again. But innocent children, who just happened to be in the wrong spot at the wrong time, are going to die this weekend in Chicago. This is a serious problem and we need serious people to fix it.
But I digress again. I'm very digressive.
Political junkies know the recent history of the Republican Party. It's a party, in theory, dedicated to the ideals of fiscal and social conservatism and rich white men who drive expensive douchey cars. There are not enough economic conservatives, social conservatives, and NFL team owners to win Presidential elections, though. So, in order to gain numerical leverage, the GOP opened their door to all the racist rednecks, the proudly ignorant, and the easily duped. The Republican establishment welcomed in all the angry scapegoaters, folks who wish to go back to our nation's wholesome 1950s sit-com roots, and anonymous hate bloggers. The Party brought in the big game hungers, those demanding Mississippi justice, the Religious Right, talk show hosts who don't believe in evolution, Fox & Friends, anti-intellectuals, and the Duggars.
And so now we're left with the worst kind of comedic actor: a washed up has-been hack so afraid of what taking on a serious role might do to his already-crumbling career that, instead, he hopes to resuscitate his fame by starring in some cash-grab garbage with plots like "saving his uncle's farm with a bikini car wash" and "voting down even the most common sense gun control bills because he's bought-and-paid-for by the NRA." In Hollywood, it's such a quick ride from telling jokes to becoming one. And in Washington, it's such a short trip from bending your integrity a little in order to keep your Senate seat to... congratulations on winning the Presidential nomination, Mr. Trump.
Now back to Chicago.
In 1994, in response to the rising homicide rate that was devastating black communities, President Bill Clinton, with bipartisan, ethnically-diverse support, signed into law a lengthy crime bill. Violent crime declined. And as an unforeseen bonus, though possibly a spurious correlation, only a year later ABC cancelled Full House.
Was the crime bill effective? What parts of the law worked? What aspects of the law should have been changed, in order to benefit the largest number of people? Did the law go too far? Should Kourtney Kardashian take Scott Disick back? Could this same sort of law help to alleviate gang violence in 2016 Chicago? These are intelligent questions, open for serious political debate, for the betterment of society. Unfortunately, nobody cares about these questions. Instead, the issue is: Hillary Clinton, while the bill was being discussed, used the term superpredator to refer to the violent, remorseless young people committing horrific acts. And apparently that was... racist? Today, of course, we understand that to say words is bad. Instead, we refer to violent, remorseless young people as "Bernie Bros."
Hillary Clinton, while on the campaign train, apologized for saying superpredator. However, many liberals are incensed that a woman who said superpredator 22 years ago might soon become the leader of the free world. The outrage! And so now even the more right-leaning Democrats- so afraid of being labeled racist- are staying away from the racial violence in Chicago that is killing young black children. It's sort of like when my wife accuses me of being unromantic and I solve the problem by simply avoiding her.
Wait. I'm getting to my point.
Sincere, thoughtful Republican politicians have been trying to attract more minorities to the Party: black people, Hispanics, people who thought that Warcraft movie was good, etc. The pitch is that implementing true conservative ideology of limited government spending, personal responsibility, and an end to hashtag-friendly politically correct nonsense will, in the bigger picture, empower socio-economically disenfranchised communities.
Can conservatism principles dissipate racial and economic inequality? Hmm... I'm not sure. But it's an important, well-meaning discussion- that, objectively, is not racist or corrupt and is not obsessed with banning abortion and stopping gay marriage and the rest of the idiocy that now brands the Republican Party.
America needs a strong Republican Party. The Democratic Party needs a strong Republican Party, just as Batman needs the Joker and the Yankees need the Red Sox and Arby's needs Pepto-Bismol.
Smug, self-righteous liberals might celebrate the demise of the Republican Party, and the atrocity that it has become. But this is not a joyful occasion. The United States can't function properly without a legitimate two-party system. I mean, without Republicans standing in the way, we could just as easily adopt some of those horrible progressive policies that even liberals dread coming to fruition. It's like when you're a teenager disrespectfully screaming at your parents for not letting you go to that all-night rave in the city... with the secret fear that if you keep it up, your mom might just give up and say, "Okay, fine. You can go." We only demand free college based on the comforting expectation that it won't happen.
America needs a strong Republican Party- not the collection of bill-blocking weasels who currently make up Congress. Rather, our country thrives when conservative, intellectual, reasonable opposition presents an alternative political dogma to the masses. As a Democrat, I'm tired of thinking "what a bunch of morons" anytime Republican senators gather around a microphone. That these bozos are in charge is depressing. I crave real, stimulating political debate. I covet a variant opinion to which I simply don't have a response. Sometimes, it's good to be proven wrong... as when I suggested Charlie Sheen for Cub Scout leader.
The rise of Donald Trump is no surprise. He's the inevitable final turd of a movie franchise that has lost its way. Donald Trump is Police Academy part 8.
It's time for the Republican Party to make a comeback. Get rid of the entourage. Those leaches never really cared about you, anyway. Hire a new manager, a new agent: people who respect your talent and value your career. And take on a serious role. Will it pay off? Maybe, maybe not. But at least if you go out with some self-respect, audiences won't read your obituary in the newspaper and think, "Really? I thought he died years ago."