Who’s laughing now?

In his latest “60 Minutes” interview, President Obama was asked about his laughter during tough economic times by Steve Kroft. Apparently, Kroft is not alone in wondering if the President’s good humor is appropriate. I’ve heard others express dismay, too.

Like Diana, the People’s Princess, Obama is the People’s President. That’s why he got elected. He is supposed to reflect, for all to see, what America is really like. How could he do that if he were somber and the image of a besieged man?

Unless you suffer from depression (if you and are untreated, please consider therapy and medication), you are not so distraught by unemployment, the stock market, and the credit crisis that you have lost your sense of humor.

Years ago, when I was just starting law school, I bemoaned the state of my finances, while considering the costs of education, and ended by laughing. I was in a car with my brother, his wife, and his children. His middle child, Jaden, turned to me and asked, “Why are you laughing?” “Because, sometimes if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry,” I told her. She thought about it, and then she understood.

Likewise, I understand the President’s need to keep his spirits up. Don’t most people understand, also, that it doesn’t mean he’s flippant?

America is a hardy nation. When it comes time for the last laugh, we want to be the one laughing. Since our economic troubles, movies are doing better at the box office and books are flying off the shelves. As we struggle to keep our heads out of the water, our spirits are high. We aren’t in denial. We’re just trying to keep a sense of self.


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