My grandfather called me and told me he was angry with me over this picture. The following is my letter to him.
I’m sorry you were upset by the picture you saw on my blog. You thought I was desecrating the flag. Let me make it clear – that is not what I was doing at all. The graphic is a joke. The caption reads,”Don’t Blame Me – I Voted for Tina.” It’s political satire. It’s supposed to mimic an election graphic for a politician. Instead of an elected official – it’s a photo of me with my finger up my nose. It pokes fun at the electoral process, politicians and myself. I won’t defend it as highbrow. Honestly, it’s flippant and irreverent. That’s not a defense – just a clarification.
I don’t hate America. I don’t hate our politicians. We went to war with England so that we would no longer have a king. I am a comedian. It is my job to make fun of those that are in charge. This was started with the first republic on record – with the ancient Greeks. They called their satirists ‘philosophers’. They got better hotel accommodations with less driving. My point is that it’s a long standing tradition of a free society to have the leaders be at the mercy of humorists. There were no stand ups in Baghdad cafes making fun of Saddam’s mustache. If ‘they’ truly ‘hate us for our freedom’ – they hate us for our rights to criticize our government.
I respect that you don’t agree with my views. I have a deep respect that you signed up to serve your country in WWII. I have a deep respect for your son that went to Vietnam and your grandson that went to Iraq. In a country that is run by ‘the people’ and FOR ‘the people’ – I am proud of my family’s contributions to this nation. I love this country. And because I love my country – I have an obligation to question our, now incredibly secretive government and their extreme actions. It’s my patriotic duty to this nation. You served in your capacity – I serve in mine.
I don’t like that our country is polarized. I don’t like that Americans have been pitted against each other by sound bites. I resent it. It saddens me. I have been all over this country and each area – each class and political leaning has its own charm – and of course their own assholes. I don’t agree with some people but that is what makes being an American interesting. I want people to challenge my convictions by relaying their own. I want people to be free to express themselves. As I want to be free to make fun of them for it.
We don’t have to agree on everything to be friends. We certainly don’t have to agree on everything to be family. We absolutely don’t have to agree on everything to be patriots. So it’s okay that we don’t agree. I love you Grampa. You’re a wonderful man and I’m grateful to have you in my life. Let’s not let this get in the way of our relationship.
Besides, I spent my entire teenage years trying to freak you out. Remember the nose ring and the pink dreads? I thought you would be immune to ANYTHING I did after that.
This is a misunderstanding. I love you.