As a lawyer and politician, Abraham Lincoln was known for his stories and down-to-earth humor. He certainly loved to laugh, but his humor served a purpose: “I do not seek applause…nor to amuse the people. I want to convince them. I often avoid a long and useless discussion by others or a laborious explanation on my own part by using a short story that illustrates my point of view.”
North Carolina's U.S. Senator Sam Ervin, Jr. knew the importance of humor and used it: "As a trial lawyer, politician, and legislator, I recognized the pragmatic value of humor. An ounce of revealing humor often has more power to reveal, convince, or ridicule than do many tons of erudite argument."
But it was another Democrat, Texas Politician Jim Hightower, who said it best: "Humor is so useful if your goal is actually to communicate with the voters. My last opponent accused me of being a comedian, but I don't tell jokes. I use humor as a tool--putting a position paper in a sentence."
You can only write so many op-ed columns before you just need to have a little fun. Here are twenty of my favorite humorous "position papers:"
20. “If you can’t convince them, confuse them.” -Harry Truman
19. "When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators." -P.J. O’Rourke
18. “Money won’t buy happiness, but it will pay the salaries of a large research staff to study the problem.” -Bill Vaughan
17. “When anyone gets something for nothing, someone else gets nothing for something.” -Anonymous
16. “Congress can raise taxes because it can persuade a large number of the populace that somebody else will pay.” -Milton Friedman
15. “If you throw more birdseed on the ground, you’ll get more pigeons.” -Robert Nudelman
14. "Politics [Poly "many" + tics "blood-sucking parasites"]" -Larry Hardiman
13. "Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks." -Doug Larson
12. "If guns cause crime, there must be something wrong with mine." -Ted Nugent
11. "There's always free cheese in a mousetrap." International Proverb
10. ”A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” -George Bernard Shaw
9. "Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt." -Herbert Hoover
8. “I remember back when a liberal was someone who was generous with his own money.” -Will Rogers
7. ”A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.” -G. Gordon Liddy
6. “The most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” -Ronald Reagan
5. ”Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” -P.J. O'Rourke
4. "The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin." -Mark Twain
3. ”If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free.” -P.J. O'Rourke
2. “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” -Ronald Reagan
The final one is from 430 BC, and it's for all of you who don't pay attention to what's happening in politics...
1. "Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you!" -Pericles
Most prefer laughing to crying. After all, as one 1st grader wrote in his adapted proverb: "Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you have to blow your nose." Makes sense to me.
Giving the gift of laughter deserves a present in return. Write in some of your favorite humorous "position papers" worth sharing.