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CSotD: Strange Days Have Tracked Us Down

Peter Brookes leads us off today with a commentary on the bizarre mashup of celebration and disaster surrounding the Republican National Convention, which, as several people have noted, is unusual because an incumbent president is basing his appeal on the horrific condition of the nation he has been leading.

We sure aren’t hearing Republicans ask, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”

 

And while timing is always an issue in political cartooning, Michael Ramirez might be wishing he had this one back in light of more recent events from Kenosha.

It’s not that everyone who says “All Lives Matter” is an overt, conscious racist.

But this cartoon still sends a message of “Do what the police say or they may kill you.”

It’s one thing to say “If you drive drunk, you may cause an accident” and another to warn that resisting arrest is apt to get you killed, even if both cautions are true.

Of course, black parents have had this conversation with their sons for many decades, which is why protesters emphasize that Black Lives Matter.

You can’t sound the warning and simultaneously downplay the imbalance in how it plays out, which explains the little black girl in the cartoon.

And as has been noted many, many, too many times, All Houses Matter, certainly, but the fire department focuses its attention on the one that is currently engulfed in flames.

You have to try really hard in order not to understand that.

 

But, again, timing is everything, and, if the shooting of Jacob Blake is one more in too long a line of tragic encounters, the murder of BLM protesters opened a new chapter in the decline and fall of our nation.

Clay Jones is harsh in declaring that Donald Trump actually, specifically approved the killings, but, then again, Donald Trump invited a pair of armed vigilantes who drew down on peaceful protesters to address the nation at his convention.

The fact that they didn’t pull the trigger is a distinction no intelligent person would begin to defend.

 

 

There will be more commentary on this in the coming days, I’m sure, but Steve Brodner offers a sketch that sums it up, noting Dr. Cooper’s words on Ari Melber’s show (starting at about 3.30).

Making heroes of armed vigilantes does not allow you to add “Don’t Try This At Home” disclaimers because you are specifically endorsing trying this at home, particularly when the vigilantes being praised are total amateurs, as many gun owners noted in seeing how carelessly they handled their weapons.

Moreover, Kenosha’s Chief of Police does not cool things down by observing that, if you don’t protest during off-hours, armed vigilantes won’t feel compelled to murder you “to resolve whatever conflict was in place.”

And his officers won’t have to spend taxpayer money handing out free water bottles to the aforementioned armed white-supremacist vigilantes in gratitude for their support.

 

Drew Litton notes that the NBA has stepped up, with the players cancelling games, with a cartoon that mirrors the iconic photo of 14-year-old Mary Ann Vecchio kneeling over the corpse of slaughtered Kent State student Jeff Miller.

 

Though Tom Stiglich points out that nobody cares what they think, or, at least, that he doesn’t.

He’s right that ratings for the NBA are down from the past, though it’s not clear how much that’s influenced by the pandemic interruption of their season.

It’s also not clear where “popular” and “morally right” intersect on the scale of values.

And, building on Litton’s cartoon, let me add a plug for Derf Backderf’s superb graphic history of the Kent State shootings which is about to be released.

I’ve read it, but I didn’t need to in order to remember that, shocked as decent people were at the killings, there was, at the time, plenty of pushback and plenty of false rumors and plenty of people who said those damn kids got what they deserved.

Or that, in both criminal and civil trials, the Guardsmen were exonerated.

So pardon me for being cynical, but, whatever you think of Donald Trump’s morals or honesty or concern for the nation, he surely does know how to promote, and the decision to feature armed vigilantes at his convention was no blunder.

He may well be right that he could have two innocent protesters shot to death in the streets of Kenosha and not lose a single vote.

Which makes Ruben Bolling’s otherwise excellent bit of political satire yet another example of how hard it is to invent anything more absurdly chilling than reality:

 

To which I would add this: You need to stop using the expression “dog whistle” to describe Trump’s appeal to a violent racist subculture.

Dog whistles are pitched to be heard only by the dogs they summon.

These are not “dog whistles.” Anyone, everyone, can hear them, and don’t pretend otherwise, because, in the words of Michael Corleone, “It insults my intelligence and makes me very angry.”

No, the only issue now is whether we’ll bother to respond at all, and, if we do, will we do it not as rabid dogs, but as decent human beings?

 

Community Comments

#1 phil von neupert
August/27/2020
@ 8:15 am

The GOP may be right; if Biden is elected, we may not be safe….from Trump supporters. The Trumplodyte across my street was washing and hanging out his combat gear yesterday, with a smile on his face. He may think it’s all a joke, but I, for one, am not amused. I’ll be keeping an eye on him, and I will be voting for Joe Biden, regardless. Keep a stiff upper lip, America. We’ll get through this If we don’t falter.

#2 Mike
August/27/2020
@ 9:50 am

Couldn’t agree more: Trump supporters should have expected to be spit on, egged, sucker punched, harangued at restaurants, MAGA hats slapped off their heads, property vandalized, businesses boycotted and mocked by CNN et.al. for the last 3.5 years. They won so they had it coming. -ML

#3 Steve Herberger
August/27/2020
@ 10:05 am

Speaking of Ramirez, is his cartoon for today (8/27) really trying to say Democrats are ignoring the results of unrest? Maybe he just mixed up his animal image sources.

#4 Brad Walker
August/27/2020
@ 10:07 am

See, if you resist arrest, the police may kill you. If you don’t, then they may kill you.

You have to learn how to spot the difference.

#5 Steve Herberger
August/27/2020
@ 10:28 am

Sorry for the confusion, but it looks like the cartoon I received on another feed today was actually yesterday’s Ramirez. Still not really grasping the reality:
https://www.michaelpramirez.com/unrest-in-the-streets-08-26-20.html

#6 phil von neupert
August/27/2020
@ 11:25 am

Yeah, MIKE, back people should expect to be killed by racist police because, after all, they’re black. Peaceful protesters should expect to be gunned down in the streets by Trump supporters because, well, they’re protesting. Restaurant patrons should expect to be shot up by Trump supporters because, you know, they’re eating. School children should expect to be murdered in class by Trump supporters because, OMG, they’re learning. Those “losers” all had it coming, because, of course, they’re not REAL Americans, are they MIKE? Only a twisted sociopath would compare losing a hat to getting killed in cold blood. I rest my case.

#7 Mike
August/27/2020
@ 12:11 pm

I hope you’re not a lawyer.

#8 Nick Merritt
August/27/2020
@ 1:37 pm

You know, Lester, I’d actually kind of hoped you really had made good on your promise to be done. Guess you couldn’t resist?

#9 Clay Jones
August/27/2020
@ 2:02 pm

Trump supporters now support terrorists.

It amazes me after the act of terrorism resulting in two murders, one cartoonist’s main focus is on NBA ratings. “Grrr…black people. Nobody wants to watch you” is the message.

And the other one says to relax and enjoy it. Arguing someone wouldn’t have been shot in the back seven times if they hadn’t resisted is akin to saying if you didn’t dress provocatively, then you wouldn’t have been raped.
These cartoons prove systemic racism is real. A black guy resisting arrest deserves to be shot in the back seven times. Protesters deserve to be murdered. And a white murderer should get a pass or if arrested, taken to Burger King.

#10 Mary McNeil
August/27/2020
@ 5:37 pm

Oh Tom D Bug, you’ve done it again !

#11 Mary Ella
August/27/2020
@ 6:02 pm

I’m reminded yet again of one of Mr. Lester’s “better” cartoons from a couple years back—in which Jesus punches a celebrity in the face for making a sacrilegious comment during an awards ceremony.

After being gobsmacked by the sheer heresy of it, I realized it made a perverse sort of sense—this would be Mike Lester’s version of the Prince of Peace, wouldn’t it? Perpetually aggrieved and ready to lash out at the tiniest perceived slight.

Let me assure you, Mr. Lester, that however badly you crave pity and whatever other secondary gain you’re after, there are actually wide swaths of this country (including my own neck of the woods and probably yours as well) where even a the most beleaguered white guy in a MAGA hat can walk down the street without anyone giving him a second glance. But I suppose that wouldn’t play into your narrative, would it?

#12 JP Trostle
August/27/2020
@ 6:10 pm

Actually, Jesus punching Christ is one of the funniest things Mike Lester has come up with. In fact, it is now my new favorite swear phrase

#13 Mike
August/27/2020
@ 7:08 pm

Four posts that literally illustrate and prove mine. This is too easy.

#14 Nick Merritt
August/27/2020
@ 7:49 pm

Lester, do you actually, honestly, believe that anything posted here has even remotely proved anything you have ever said in your entire life correct? Or are you (like the majority of internet tough guys) just completely and absolutely incapable of admitting fault?

#15 Mike
August/27/2020
@ 8:08 pm

Make that five.
Have you guys got a DH?

#16 JP Trostle
August/27/2020
@ 8:12 pm

“Trump supporters should have expected to be spit on, egged, sucker punched, harangued at restaurants, MAGA hats slapped off their heads, property vandalized, businesses boycotted and mocked…”

Mike, the only thing you proved is that, after less than 4 years of allegedly being treated this way, Trump supporters have endured a mere 4% of the time and a tinier fraction of the hostility directed toward Black Americans during the Jim Crow era (1865-1963) and the decades since. Pretty pathetic for the “master race” if you ask this white boy.

So suck it up, snowflake — you’ve got a long LONG way to go before you’ve earned that martyr complex you like bandy about.

#17 Mike
August/27/2020
@ 8:22 pm

1. Sarcasm eludes you guys
2. Did your dog tell you 4% or can you legit that incredibly precise calculation?
3.Invoke Godwin= you lose go back three spaces
4. “Go get your shine box”

#18 Mike Peterson
August/28/2020
@ 3:40 am

“By all means, compare these sh**heads to Nazis. Again and again. I’m with you.” — Mike Godwin, Aug 13, 2017

#19 Nick Merritt
August/28/2020
@ 4:44 am

That’s the best you’ve got, Lester? Did you even read the full sentence before patting yourself on the back for half an hour about “Did your dog tell you that”? Are you capable of performing basic subtraction to find that 1865-1963 is a span of 98 years, let alone the easy rough estimate that 4 is about 4% of 98?

These are all rhetorical questions, of course. Though every post you have made here has avoided directly answering anything, as a whole they very clearly paint the picture of a man who knows he can’t win on rational discourse.

#20 Clay Jones
August/28/2020
@ 6:00 am

Oh, this conservative white victim complex again. Ya’ll better stop before Mike starts with the war on the Christmas.

#21 Paul Berge
August/28/2020
@ 6:50 am

M: I came here for a good argument!
O: AH, no you didn’t, you came here for an argument!
M: An argument isn’t just contradiction.
O: Well! it CAN be!
M: No it can’t!
M: An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
O: No it isn’t!
M: Yes it is! ’tisn’t just contradiction.
O: Look, if I *argue* with you, I must take up a contrary position!
M: Yes but it isn’t just saying ‘no it isn’t’.
O: Yes it is!
M: No it isn’t!
O: Yes it is!
M: No it isn’t!
O: Yes it is!
M: No it ISN’T!

#22 Mike
August/28/2020
@ 7:16 am

Let’s recap: my response to the #1 post that Trumpers are violent attackers is the exact opposite and proven by 3.5 years of liberal attacks on Trump voters -is followed by attackers.
It doesn’t get more ironic than that.

Just ask Rand Paul and his wife after surviving mobs last night.

And attacking my right to speak w/ charges of self pity doesn’t stand up because I’m still here. Maybe talk to someone who challenges your beliefs sometime. I do. Have a nice day. -ML

#23 phil von neupert
August/28/2020
@ 7:17 am

Is that a Monty Python reference?

#24 JP Trostle
August/28/2020
@ 7:26 am

Mike’s martyr complex has a martyr complex. Or is a victim complex — so hard to tell because he’s always moving the goal post.

The only thing that is for sure is if you say “conservative cartoonist” three times in the mirror, he suddenly appears behind you.

#25 phil von neupert
August/28/2020
@ 7:30 am

MIKE, may I suggest that you talk to the families of the dead protesters in Kenosha, the Waffle House shooting in Nashville, or any number of Trump-inspired mass killings at public schools. I have a feeling they will disagree with your point of view. (My last post was for Paul Berge.)

#26 Mary Ella
August/28/2020
@ 7:40 am

Lester, the fact that you characterize criticism of your #1 post as “attacks” says more about you than anything else you could state about yourself. You might have some kind of masochistic reason for continuing to object yourself to it, but you’ve got a big part of your brain that wants to see yourself as a victim. Get help.

#27 Mike Beede
August/28/2020
@ 8:58 am

Mike Lester, you lost me at “talking is the same as violence.” I have a MAGA friend that draws the same equivalence. I think it is because he is afraid of talking in public leading to violence. In person that’s a realistic concern—in a comments forum on Mike’s blog it is either sloppy thinking or purposefully misleading, so I’m afraid I have to deduct your “five points,” or whatever you awarded yourself on that play.

#28 phil von neupert
August/28/2020
@ 10:17 am

Mike Beade, Trump (and his supporters) make that conflation because they maximize the harm done to them, while minimizing the harm they do to others. They view themselves as victims, but not victimizers. They view all people and things as objects to possess and control. They are grandiose, yet have low self-esteem; they feel worthless when held accountable, and lash out. It’s Criminal Psychology 101. Google “tactics to avoid accountability,” and you’ll learn a lot about our current President and his followers.

#29 Kip Williams
August/28/2020
@ 5:55 pm

People DISAGREED with Rand Paul and made angry looks at him. People DISAGREED with Mike Lester, and said hurtful words to him.

worse than being shot, tortured, lynched, beaten, or having someone kneel on your throat until you die–if you’re a Republican.

#30 Tim Daly
August/29/2020
@ 7:51 am

Understood,you don’t like T, remember these s**tshows are happening in blue cities in blue states, if you don’t like what’s going on take the red pill.

#31 phil von neupert
August/29/2020
@ 11:18 am

These “s**t shows” you speak of are the result of people in “blue states” getting shot by right-wingers. Did you really think that no one would ever fight back? Having lived in both Illinois and Wisconsin, and having been to both Antioch and Kenosha, I can say these places are not exclusively “blue.” Plenty of openly hostile rednecks live there too. I remember being harassed by both the police AND the rednecks the last time I went to Kenosha. I guess being white has its advantages; I’m still alive.

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