See All Topics

Home / Section: Editorial cartooning

CSotD: Is there a voter dismayed?

I like Christopher Weyant’s (Boston Globe) cartoon as much as I’ve liked anything in a very long time.

There is a flood of cartoons in response to the Breonna Taylor decision that spring from what we want rather than from what is. As noted here the other day, the problem in that case was not what happened on her doorstep but the system that let it happen at all.

That is, it appears that the officers acted within the law. They had a warrant, they had permission to execute a no-knock entry, and, having been told there were dangerous people inside, they returned fire when fired upon.

“How the hell could that happen?” is a reasonable, necessary question.

But, again, it’s not fair to scream at the waiter who only brings the food but doesn’t cook it. And even if those particular cops were incompetent or even racist, they wouldn’t have been at the wrong door with an error-ridden-but-legal warrant if someone hadn’t hired them and trained them and authorized them to do what they did that night.

There’s a bit of good news, in that the damage settlement to the Taylor family apparently includes a number of significant reforms to prevent future tragedies, “significant” if they truly take hold and are not blocked or ignored by the Dirty Harrys among the police and their supervisors.

Meanwhile, Weyant rightly points to that larger issue, the fundamental unfairness of the system, the growing list of African-Americans killed by stupid or incompetent or racist police, in a system that adamantly refuses to address its shortcomings.

 

I like the 1969 movie, the Charge of the Light Brigade, in which David Hemmings plays a frustrated Capt. Louis Nolan, striving to get his incompetent officers to focus on their purported goals (and being killed at the very start of the famously doomed charge.)

Nolan — a real character in the real story the movie was based on — was up against a system whose ineptitude would have been comic if real lives had not been at stake, and needlessly lost.

Russian gunners mowed down the Light Brigade, but what killed them was the imbecilic system under which they served, in an army based on wealth and politics so that incompetent, privileged nitwits rose to command.

The same can be said of those names strewn around the base of dysfunctional justice in Weyant’s cartoon: They died under a variety of circumstances but for the same tragic, preventable, indefensible reason.

Which can lead to much wringing of hands and pondering and pontificating, but could, at the right moment, lead to someone actually addressing the real problems and creating — and enforcing — the needed reforms.

You must understand, however, if black people are not holding their breath waiting for that to happen.

It’s hard to hold your breath for 400 years.

 

There is this ray of potential hope: As Rick McKee (Cagle) suggests, the election year question, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”

Reagan used it to defeat Jimmy Carter in 1980, at a time when inflation, the oil crisis and the Iranian hostage situation seemed like hell indeed, though we little knew what lay ahead.

The issue now being whether we even know where we’re at and, if so, whether it sparks (A) an intense desire for change, (B) an intense desire for revenge or, simply, (C) a desire to throw up our hands and despair.

In 1980, people held the president responsible, though neither the growth of OPEC nor the seizure of hostages were Carter’s fault, but today, with graver crises facing average Americans, we have a president who has spent his administration finger-pointing and blame-casting such that not only is nothing his fault, but the bad things that can’t simply be denied are due, not to his failures of leadership, but to conspiracies by his opponents and the media.

He has thus assembled a sizeable electorate whose sole ambition is to “own the libs,” and who never look behind the curtain to see the charlatan play-acting as Oz, the Great and Terrible.

They are a minority, but the question is whether the actual majority will rise up and show up on November 3.

Will the response of the black community to Breonna Taylor and the other victims be rage in the form of a massive turnout, or despair in the form of declaring the system too big to fight?

And will young voters, who have known only the chaos of the past 20 years, head to the polls to demand a different world?

 

Juxtaposition of the Day

(David Rowe – Australian Financial Review)

(Ann Telnaes – Washington Post)

Trump has spent three and a half years polishing not only his overall “It’s not my fault” political position, but declaring the upcoming election to be fraudulent before the first ballots were cast, giving him a base from which to deny defeat.

He has, at least in his own mind, predetermined the outcome as either a victory proclaiming his greatness or a lie that proves that “they” were plotting against “us.”

Rowe notes the screaming chaos in the streets in a counterpoint to Trump’s calm assurance that he has everything under control, while Telnaes more cynically declares that he is who he has always been.

 

And Patrick Chappatte (Boston Globe) suggests that the upcoming confirmation of an activist, rightwing judge, solidifying a conservative Supreme Court, makes the election results somewhat academic: The revolution will be over and things like reproductive choice, same-sex marriage and universal health care will be swept away in a triumph of owning the libs.

 

And, finally, Kirk Walters (KFS) brings us full circuit by pointing out that the GOP is determined to make its power-grab without the niceties of advice, simply by consent, because, after all, Trump is no more in charge of the system than were those cops who burst through Breonna Taylor’s door.

And no more a political genius than Lord Cardigan was a military one.

Simply the right pawn in the right place.

Assuming the 90 percent continue to compliantly, obediently, bleat “Four legs good, two legs better.”

 

Community Comments

#1 Lisa Pardy
September/26/2020
@ 9:06 am

I love the small touches in Rowe’s cartoon – the coronavirus Newton’s Cradle, the “Buck stops there” sign, the CDC burning up in the flaming wastebasket.

#2 Gawain Lavers
September/26/2020
@ 9:54 am

“But, again, it’s not fair to scream at the waiter who only brings the food but doesn’t cook it. And even if those particular cops were incompetent or even racist, they wouldn’t have been at the wrong door with an error-ridden-but-legal warrant if someone hadn’t hired them and trained them and authorized them to do what they did that night.”

Not to take away from your point, but no one even followed the crappy rules that exist. Everyone from the cops to the judge _broke the law_, but apparently laws that carry no consequence:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/09/24/correcting-misinformation-about-breonna-taylor/

#3 Mike Peterson
September/26/2020
@ 11:26 am

Gawain: An excellent article, but it makes my point, not deflects it.

‘There were many flaws and abrogations in that process, but it would be unfair and not legal to hold (the officers) accountable for any of that. … But “not illegal” should not mean “immune from criticism.”’

And he goes on to explain the many, many flaws in the system that allowed — perhaps “caused” — it to happen, well beyond the specific actions of those particular officers.

I’m not being sarcastic when I say thanks for the link, but I do insist that reading what I wrote and what he wrote will show both to be in sync.

#4 gezorkin
September/26/2020
@ 1:08 pm

I don’t think that ‘owning the libs’ accurately describes what they want. They want to return to dominance over minorities where they can be discriminated against legally, and N-word jokes are commonplace.

Where ‘no ________s need apply’ and hostile work environments are the norm, and where being gay or pregnant are valid causes for termination.

You know, when America was Great.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.