“As a dog returns to his vomit, a fool returns to his folly.” (Proverbs 26: 11). Biblical wisdom. Wisdom for the ages. Wisdom for our time. Stern words from the scriptures; pithy warnings from the sages.

Today, our sages are often comedians, sending up the follies of would-be leaders, parodying their already risible mis-words and mistakes. Consider the value of parody – does it wound? Or, does it make Trump and Company more “normal”? This dilemma is explored in the latest Atlantic (Chris Jones, “Alec Baldwin Gets Under Trump’s Skin,” May 2017).

The counter-argument, in the same issue, by Caitlin Flanagan, argues “late night comedy has alientated conservatives, made liberals smug, and fueled the rise of Trump.” Probably, both points are valid. Yes, “Baldwin has become our deflator-in-chief, a weekly pinprick in Trump’s ballon.” But also, “some consumers of satire have become more cynical and less likely to engage in meaningful action – the ‘Daily Show Effect’.”

Just as we awaited, with baited breath, the end of the first “100 days,” so we wait for the latest “Saturday Night Live” skit (Trump and/or Spicer, Baldwin and/or McCarthy). It helps us desahogar (Spanish for “undrowning”). An appropriate Spanish word, for the nature of life – especially for politics nowadays; both life and politics are too often about drowning.

We drown in a morass of disbelief. There is daily dread of other possible insults to Mexico, Germany or other nations. There is the nepotism we see and the corruption we suspect. There is disgust and disbelief: increasing news of Russian interference in our electoral and governing processes mixes with fear of a possible nuclear war.

So, we turn to comedy to have fun with reality, to undrown. It helps us to breathe. Jokes help provide escape – for a blessed hour or so, be it SNL’s Baldwin, or Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, Bill Mahr, John Oliver, Samantha Bee or Tina Fey. Her earlier portrayal of Sarah Palin made younger Republicans and Independents less likely to vote McCain.

On the other hand, Jimmy Fallon’s patronizing rumpling of Trump’s hair brought his own ratings down, and Trump’s up. The jokes cut both ways. Trump’s own schtick of inciting audiences to violence, threatening religious tests, calling the media a pack of liars became funny no longer, yet, is strangely part of our new reality. His supporters remain, for the most part, loyal, despite his words and actions, despite not delivering much to them, save hatred for the “establishment.”

Today, there is a new kid on the block. Anthony Atamanuik, coming off a 40-city tour, has a new program on Comedy Central, “The President’s Show.” Critic Frank Scheck deemed the opening performance “toothless,” except for one good joke: Trump called the booing of Ivanka by a German audience “the worst thing Germans have ever done.” But this new doppleganger has a serious side; his Trump finally realizes “wow, Steve Bannon really is manipulating me.”

The show, as other parodies, feeds our desire for comic relief and, yet, suggests serious problems the nation faces (need for ethics, need for real solutions). “The President’s Show” pulls back the curtain on Trump’s “America First” slogan. In one skit Trump drops five letters, leaving only ” . . . Me . . . First.” That and ads for the show in The New York Times, joshing themselves with “fake news” neon flashes, show how far we have come (or how low we have sunk?).

This, then, brings us back to the parable of the dog and fool in Proverbs. The goriness of sick jokes, the bullying, resonate with a small but formidable segment of the population. These things stick and are amped up with more and more fake Trump campaign “rallies,” well after the election. Many (not all) of that crowd forgive and/or forget Trump’s undelivered and undeliverable promises.

They ignore the lack of tangible accomplishments (jobs, anyone?). In the final analysis, many of his supporters are not the religious faithful they claim to be. “Red” (read, mostly southern) states tout “God and Guns.” However, they are among the worst fed states, the most destructive of the environment, least educated, and the least protective of “family values” – they tolerate the most domestic violence (Parent Magazine). Not surprisingly, they are strongholds of Trump voters.

In this, Trump supporters and Trump have found soul-mates in each other – poseurs and hypocrites. Meanwhile, other, more traditional Republicans continue (for financial gain) to enable Trump and his supporters. They make of our nation a laughing stock amid civilized leaders and citizens of the world.

Another Biblical story, to add to Proverbs, is appropriate. King Belshazzar of Babylon (son of Nebuchadnezzar) was warned by a mysterious hand, writing on the wall: “Mene, mene, tekel, parsin.” We do not have a prophet such as Daniel, to interpret as in those ancient days. He warned the King, in his golden palace, “You have been weighed and found wanting,” essentially, “your sins will find you out.”

Too often, hard-core Trump supporters are neither very careful Biblical scholars, maybe not even very good stewards of American principles. They will continue to essentially worship Trump in his golden palace. Trump’s absurd tweets and their slavish praise link together in dangerous tandum; e.g., “major, major” conflict possible, he signals, with North Korea. Not so long ago, he foolishly asked “what’s so wrong with using nuclear weapons?”

Who will bring whom down first? Will the dog (or dogs – ex-General Flynn, et. al.) return to their near-treasonous vomit, their folly? Or, could it be the plethora of comedians will over-reach, turning off people who need teaching, alienating more viewers, dividing more Americans? More useful to make fun of Trump than Trump supporters. We all need to think it over very carefully.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying this guest column shows comedian Anthony Atamanuik impersonating President Trump on Comedy Central’s ‘The President Show.’