In today’s world, a comic line has become the real world
“You can’t make this up” is an expression that comedians often use to introduce a funny bit, a bit based on a small amount of truth, that is so outrageous, so unbelievable, that you literally cannot make it up. Used sparingly, it can be a great way to communicate the incredulity of a situation. Some comedians have used similar lines; Jack Paar’s, “I kid you not,” even became part of his persona.
Lines like these can punch up a joke. Unfortunately, in our current environment I’m finding that “you can’t make this up” is more than a lead-in to a joke. Let me elaborate.
Donald Trump, a former president of the United States said, after Vladimir Putin launched an unprovoked attack on Ukraine: I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, “This is genius.” Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine — of Ukraine. Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful. So, Putin is now saying, “It’s independent,” a large section of Ukraine. I said, “How smart is that?” And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. That’s strongest peace force… We could use that on our southern border. That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen. They’re gonna keep peace all right. No, but think of it. Here’s a guy who’s very savvy… I know him very well. Very, very well. You can’t make this up!
Mike Pompeo, Trump’s secretary of state said, in the run-up to Putin’s invasion: [Putin is a] “talented,” “savvy,” “capable statesman.” “He is a very talented statesman. He has lots of gifts. He was a KGB agent, for goodness sakes. He knows how to use power. We should respect that.” You can’t make this up!
Russia’s president for life, Vladimir Putin, the perpetrator of the attack on Ukraine said, that he’s striving for “the demilitarization and denazification of” the sovereign democracy in Kyiv. This is a particularly jarring accusation given that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Jewish and lost three family members in the Holocaust. You can’t make this up!
America First Political Action Committee (AFPAC)
Over 80 years since Charles Lindbergh’s America First Committee self-destructed after Pearl Harbor, a group called AFPAC held its annual conference in Florida (where else?). AFPAC is led by 22-year old white supremacist, Nicholas Fuentes who kicked off the meeting by saying, “Our secret sauce here – it’s these young, White men,” lamenting that “the world has forgotten about them, but not us. You know, they say about America, diversity is our strength, you know? And I look at China, I look at Russia, can we give a round of applause for Russia?” To which the crowd raucously cheered, chanting “Putin, Putin.” You can’t make this up!
The special guest speaker at AFPAC was a sitting member of Congress, Marjorie Taylor Greene, who told the crowd, “You’ve been handed the responsibility to fight for our Constitution and stand for our freedoms, and stop the Democrats who are the communist party of the United States of America,” while additionally attacking transgender people, among others. Her speech was immediately followed by a series of virulently racist and homophobic diatribes from prominent extremists including “they want to replace you (whites),” as well as a call for the execution of Dr. Anthony Fauci for “causing the coronavirus pandemic.” You can’t make this up!
And, near and dear to my heart:
Florida’s GOP Leaders
Florida’s junior senator, Rick Scott, who while Governor claimed that he cut taxes 75 times, unveiled a series of policies under his 11-point “Rescue America” plan including a call for all Americans to pay an income tax…and then lied about it. The plan, which calls for the 50% of Americans who pay no income tax, mostly people whose income is so low they don’t meet the minimum income threshold, to pay an income tax because they need to “have skin in the game.” This despite the fact that nearly everyone, even those who don’t pay federal income tax, actually has ‘skin in the game’ by paying some form of taxes, like sales or payroll taxes. When asked by a sycophantic Sean Hannity, “I didn’t see that (a raise in taxes for 50% of Americans) in your plan. Did you have that in your plan? Was that in invisible ink in the copy that I got?” To which Scott responded, “Of course not.” Even though it was. You can’t make this up!
Florida’s senior senator, Marco Rubio equated the threat to freedom and liberty in Ukraine with the erosion of American liberty because of “cancel culture.” “These are people (Ukrainians) who are basically saying we refuse to be Putin’s slaves. We refuse to live under tyranny. We’re prepared to give our life and die for it,” adding (in getting to the point he really wanted to make), “Freedom and liberty is being threatened again (in America), but no one here is being asked to die, no one here is being asked to take up arms and defend it. We’re being asked to win elections, to speak out, to be courageous, to raise our voices, to call it out for what it is.” Rubio’s examples of the threat to freedom in America included what he described as “intolerance of certain views on college campuses,” “digital mobs” policing speech on the internet and “efforts to cancel programs such as certain podcasts.” He failed to mention GOP governors and legislatures dictating public school curricula or local school boards banning books that don’t meet their twisted views of history. You can’t make this up!
And finally, not be outdone, Florida governor Ron DeSantis, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Committee convention in Florida (where else?), focused on his COVID-19 response and culture war issues that he has championed, including banning the teaching of critical race theory in schools, outlawing so-called “sanctuary” immigration policies in Florida municipalities and a new state law targeted at protests that get out of control. “We have the opportunity to make 2022 the year that America fought back. We’re going to lead the charge here in Florida but we need people all over the country to be willing to put on that full armor of God. To stand firm against the left’s schemes. You’ll be met with flaming arrows, but the shield of faith will stop them. You will emerge victorious.” (He must of forgotten his newest pet project, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill). You can’t make this up!
In some of my posts, particularly the ones labeled “News with a Twist,” I actually make things up. Successful or not, those post are meant to be ‘satirical.’
What I’ve called out in this post are real examples of “You can’t make this up.” And, they’re dead serious. “I kid you not!