Send in the clowns - From this corner

They won’t have clowns at the Missouri State Fair next year.

They’re running it.

Last week, the State Fair Commission voted to ban a rodeo clown who wore an Obama mask as the announcer asked if the crowd want to see “Obama” get run down by a bull. The ban against the clown is a lifetime one, even though local reports indicated the crowd roared its approval.

It was all part of a skit, and it wasn’t even original. There are well documented reports of a similar skit done in 1994. Except the clown wasn’t wearing an Obama mask; it was George H.W. Bush. I’ve heard of similar skits with masks of Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. There was no public outcry. The lieutenant governor, U.S. Senator and governor didn’t cry out in protest.
The State Fair Commission, panties in a wad, went beyond banning the clown. The members of that august body voted to require the rodeo cowboy association – its officials and subcontractors – “have successfully participated in sensitivity training.”

I have some comments for the commission.
And a question: Have you lost your ever-lovin’ minds?

Agreed, the clown’s joke perhaps isn’t all that funny. It’s admittedly in poor taste.

But hey, he’s not running for office. He’s a CLOWN. At a rodeo.

He may be running for his life, literally, as he challenges a snot-slinging 2,000-pound angry bull away from a downed would-be bull rider. The guy wasn’t hired for brain surgery or political insight, and there is no doubt in my mind he failed the funny test.
But the aftermath was disgraceful. Anybody afraid some of the slinging bull fecal matter would stick to him or her quickly got in line to condemn, criticize or apologize. The Republican lieutenant governor spoke out, as did the Democrat senior senator from Missouri.
It’s hard to criticize anybody for being caught flat-footed. How would you anticipate such a ham fisted approach to entertainment. Even a clown ought to recognize the joke was tasteless and probably not appropriate for the young audiences attending a state fair rodeo. But hey, it’s been done before, with other presidents and elites. However, even a novice comedian should realize poking that type of fun at this anointed president is going to get somebody’s knickers in a knot.

I hate to make a big deal out of a trivial matter, but since when is it so outrageous for a clown to lampoon a politician?
The clown could have been criticizing the lieutenant governor, or talking about strip clubs. He could have ridiculed the senior senator, or asked her where was her distraught over four murdered Americans in Benghazi while her president was AWOL. Or he could have been lampooning the governor and his lack of exasperation over his administration puking out private information of thousands of Missourians and the guv’s lack of action in the face of those illegal acts.

Not to put too much importance on it, but since when do we tar and feather a guy, a comedian, for getting rough with a politician? Don’t we in the country have a fundamental right to say ugly things about people, especially our politicians? Shoot, folks, the nice speech doesn’t need protection. It’s only the offensive or ugly or controversial things which require protection.
Your grandma doesn’t need free speech to talk about her grandchildren. It’s when we disagree that we need speech protected.

So, it comes down to a failure by the people in power – the governor, lieutenant governor, senator, the fair board – to protect the “little people” they are busy robbing by their deeds while pontificating with their mouths.
The rodeo clown worked, and he worked hard, to entertain that state fair crowd and, more importantly, protect the riders. Those men, for whatever reason, pitted their aching arms and sore bodies against bulls weighing 10 to 15 times what they do. When flung from the backs of the bucking bulls, they knew they had somebody in their corner. They knew they could rely on the clown to risk his own health and welfare to distract the raging bull, to get that dangerous animal’s attention and draw him away from the riders whose backsides wound up in the dirt.
Each time the clown pulled, drug or escorted a rider to safety, he celebrated success. Each time he made the crowd laugh as he helped fill time between rides, he knew success.

And the riders knew somebody was there, protecting their backs from harm.

The failures in this story don’t include the clown. He did his job, perhaps not perfectly, but to the best of his ability.
The fair board, the politicians, those people turned and scampered to safety behind a cloud of accusations and cowardice. They should have had the clown’s back; instead they plunged a knife in it.

Truly, they are the clowns.
And they aren’t very funny, either.