George Graham

I Don’t Think this Election is a Laughing Matter

According to The Telegraph’s report on last night’s Al Smith dinner:

The two candidates both raised riotous laughter at the fundraising gala in Manhattan, enjoying a few hours of political ceasefire as they sat on either side of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, America’s most senior Catholic.

Watching on TV, I didn’t see the event the way the UK newspaper’s reporter did.

Mitt Romney and President Obama did not by any stretch of the imagination, enjoy a few hours of political ceasefire. To me, their supposedly satirical gigs were warmed over versions of their stump speeches.

Especially Romney’s.

The Republican presidential candidate was his obnoxious, bullying self. And he was about as funny as a toothache.

What I saw and heard was reflected in the Reuters perception:

The combativeness of the campaign trail was ever-present as the two foes gave back-to-back speeches at the 67th annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner.

It’s true that Romney “skinned out his teeth,” as we Jamaicans might put it. But I wouldn’t call the Romney grimace a smile. And the tasteless way he needled Obama was far from funny.

And I cringed at the way he sucked up to the Roman Catholic hierarchy hosting the dinner, remarking that he shared their approach to abortion while the president is trying to force them to provide contraceptives for their employees. (It was a typical Romney misrepresentation. The healthcare reform law exempts religious organizations from the contraceptives provision. It affects only secular operations run by religious groups.)

As you might expect, the president was less ham handed than Romney, but I didn’t find him funny, either.

What’s so “riotous” about telling guests to take their seats before Clint Eastwood starts yelling at the chairs?

What’s so witty about ridiculing loyal Joe Biden?

That sounded awkward to me, not clever.

Of course the guests were laughing. Those fat cats have everything to laugh about. They’re America’s overfed, overindulged one percent.

They were stuffing their faces with culinary delights and lapping up vintage wine, while millions of their fellow-Americans were going to bed hungry.

They were laughing in the faces of the sufferers.

And the sufferers might say, “What is joke to you is death to me.”

Sure, the lavish dinner raised money for “charity.”

And charity is going to be sorely needed in America if President Obama loses this election.

If Romney and his pillagers take the White House, their policies will soak the earth with the tears of orphans and widows. The oppression of women will be beyond the imagination of any American born in the past half century. Unemployment lines will lengthen – and unemployment benefits will have disappeared (along with school lunches for poor kids and medical care for poor families, especially women).

Not to mention the ravaging of the environment by corporate barons let loose upon the land to plunder and pollute at will.

Past administrations may have chastised Americans with whips; a Romney administration would chastise Americans with scorpions.

Even as Romney “joked” with those George W. Bush once called “the haves and the have mores,” workers at an Illinois factory owned by Bain Capital (Romney’s former company, in which he still has millions of dollars invested) were training their Chinese replacements and preparing to close its doors – just one more example of Romney’s long history of outsourcing American jobs to China.

You might say, “Lighten up George; where’s your sense of humor?”

But believe me this election is just not funny.

Click here for The Telegraph’s report.

Click here for the Reuters report.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for


  • I enjoy your blogs. But, the oil companies are not stupid. They lined the pockets of Democrats as well as Republicans. President Obama did not win with “small people” donations; he won with oil money donation.

    President Obama is about as Black as a Brown in uptown Jamaica or mulatto Haiti compared to Black Haiti; they don’t have the same experiences or opportunities. Mrs Obama is Black and a real sister. However she did not go to a typical inner city Chicago high school with crime, pregnancy and other drama; she went to a magnet Chicago High School and that’s how she ended up at Harvard and Prinction. President Obama went to an elite High School in HA.

    Its all about opportunity.Do you take advantage or do you take it for granted? Many Jamaicans get the opportunity to travel “a farin” What do some of them do with it?

  • Janice my dear, a lot of what you say is true, but as far as I know the oil companies did not support President Obama finacially nor otherwise. I seem to remember the millions of dollars that came through the internet from the ‘common’ people though. Billy G.

  • He got money from everybody; he was the first president candidate to utilize the net the way his team did. However, backdoor politics is alive and well. Visit portien view or misemedia on you tube to see what I am talking about on how the President got to the White House. There, you will see oil companies are in the mist.