HART: Zelenskyy’s Rise Shows The Power Of Humor

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Ron Hart Contributor
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Who would have thought that a comedian with no political experience would become the president of Ukraine, a country with a population of more than 44 million? But he did. And he is.

If the political rise of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sounds like the plot of a TV sitcom, that’s because it was. He became the best-known comic in Ukraine, and then in 2019 he won the presidency with 70% of the vote. That’s no joke.

It was the first time a person who was a professional clown became president of a country. In that order. In our country, a professional politician became president and has since become a clown.

Some questioned the idea of a country’s leading comic becoming president and also his ability to lead. Those questions ended when Russian invaded Ukraine a couple of weeks ago.

The power of satire is clear. If done correctly, it holds a mirror to the face of the powerful. It is such a force that the Taliban, upon getting control of Afghanistan, first captured and killed a leading comic.

You must be strong to do comedy. Jack Lemmon, the great actor, said on his deathbed, “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.” Zelenskyy faces almost certain death now, having reportedly survived at least three Putin assassination attempts. In Russia, if you take on Putin you die of natural causes, which can include being dragged behind a car for ten miles, being poisoned or, as KGB reports will say, “20 bullet holes to the head in the most comprehensive suicide we have ever seen.”

Pointing out irony where there is truth makes for humor. Unlike slapstick pratfall comedy, political humor makes you think and laugh and is a powerful tool feared by the elites. It serves to keep them in check and accountable.

Humor can be used to endear yourself to folks or to make them mad. I make the left mad. I hold U.S. politicians to account, and they are after me. If sanctions hurt an economy, then why did we shut down U.S. pipelines and not Russia’s? Gas prices are going up faster in Atlanta than Democrat vote counts in downtown precincts after midnight.

Making another point about our Big Tech oligarchs’ cozy political relationship with Dems: Putin still has Twitter and Facebook accounts while Trump does not. I have never met Vladimir Putin, but I think he would like me because of that and other jokes — so much so that he’d promise to kill me last.

After the invasion of Ukraine, there was talk of boycotting Russian vodka. But Black Lives Matter folks complained recently that our country is too focused on white countries like Russia and Ukraine and should be focused on them.

Here is a joke that the left will not like. Do you know how to make a Black Russian? Get Hollywood to do a remake of “Dr. Zhivago.”

The left is so mad at Putin they sent Alec Baldwin to Ukraine with a prop gun to make a war movie.

Zelenskyy has led fellow Ukrainians to fight attempts by Russia and Putin to impose their awful brand of socialist totalitarianism that would disrupt their way of life. The same thing happens in the South every time folks from California move to our states.

For the first time in more than seventy years, Germany is on a war footing, willing to help Ukraine as Putin rolls over the country. They know the drill. Germany has lost wars to the Soviet Union, the United States and Britain. They are 0 and 2 but remain highly ranked in the Coaches’ Poll based on strength of schedule.

It’s great that a Jewish leader like Zelenskyy can get the support of Germany. He has rallied many otherwise pacifist countries to the cause of defeating the Russian invasion.

With Sweden, Switzerland and Germany now willing to help, we should not ask many questions. You never ask Swedes about their ankles, the Swiss about their banking system and Germans why their granddads hail from Argentina.

This show of support has encouraged other countries to help Ukraine. Germany and the U.S. are sending Stinger anti-tank weapons, so other countries will send what they have. Colombia is sending a bale of cocaine, Mexico some drywall hangers, North Korea fentanyl, Canada knives to slash truck tires with and China its latest COVID variant.

Ron Hart is a syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author, and TV/radio commentator; you can reach him at Ron@RonaldHart.com or Twitter @RonaldHart.