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CSotD: After the party’s over

As regular readers surely realize, I much admire Clay Bennett (CTFP)‘s work, and I surely wish I thought he had this one right.

But his rosy optimism seems misplaced.

There’s this much: Once Joe Biden takes his place in the White House, we will have a large and encouraging change in the tone of leadership, and that, in itself, will be a great relief and a potential benefit to the nation.

The question is how effective that change will be, because we’re no more likely to “Make America Kind Again” than Trump and his acolytes Made America Great Again.

They not only failed to make America great, but managed to diminish us in the eyes of the world and internally as well.

Getting rid of Trump, however, is like putting out a wildfire. It may prevent further damage, but it doesn’t repair the damage done.

Nor does it prevent rekindles.

Once, while I was off herding children at a summer camp, my buddies back home were making a lot more money than I was, because a brush fire got down into the duff, the peat-like deep layer of organic material in an Eastern forest, and kept popping up in different places. They got called out every few days for several weeks.

I’m expecting something similar, but over a much longer period.

Trump will be gone January 20, whether he likes it or not, but, as Michael de Adder (Ind) demonstrates, the United States will not be free of Trumpism.

For those more into science than science fiction, think of it as one of those wasps that lays its eggs in the body of a spider so that its larvae can first feast on the spider’s blood and then force it to build them a custom-made web for their cocoon.

Ironic, I suppose, that those who have been running in fear of socialism have set up the next horrific stage of Dialectical Materialism, but, then, I suppose blind fear — the nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror FDR warned us against — is a basic building block for societal disruption.

Nobody would do this to themselves on purpose.

However, once you’ve had a Trump to get the ball rolling, it follows, and for all the cartoons about Trump being physically dragged out of the White House, he may be leaving, but Trumpism is not.

Leading to this

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Pat Bagley — SL Trib)

(Marc Murphy — Louisville Courier-Journal)

Bagley accuses the Republican party of cowardice, of being afraid to confront Trump, or, more accurately, his faithful. As noted here the other day, the election was close enough that the GOP cannot afford to alienate the Deplorables.

I think, however, that Murphy is closer to the mark: The GOP itself is turning orange, not simply sheltering and abetting the Deplorables but becoming them.

On social media, Bagley expressed anger and incredulity that a handful of professional cartoonists continue to support Trump’s idiotic theory that he is the victim of a massive conspiracy, and I, too, have seen their work.

But Murphy offered this chilling tweet, which may be more to the point:

The idea of Trumpism without Trump should scare the hell of you, because it denies the Pollyanna idea that, once Trump is gone, everything will snap back to our previous level of societal sanity.

Whether it will be “led by competent, savvy professionals” or simply move forward on its own momentum may be irrelevant.

 

 

John Deering (Creators) suggests that the fox, finding itself trapped, is attempting to amputate its own leg to be free, and it’s a brilliant metaphor but let’s not get too excited over the outcome, because, while he’s right that the news division of Fox is attempting to revert to journalism, their nighttime merchants of infotainment are still promoting Trumpism.

One of the problems for all of us, going forward, will be not simply telling truth from fiction but telling misunderstood fiction from deliberate lies. And living with those who cannot.

It won’t simply be a matter of sorting through Baghdad Barbie’s preposterous propaganda.

She’ll be gone along with her boss, though I’m sure she won’t disappear entirely.

The remaining question will be who is lying and who is simply misinformed?

Case in point:

Granted, Antonio Branco (Creators) never met a rightwing fringe belief he didn’t like, but this particular cartoon references an incident dangerous not for what happened but for how it was been presented.

As originally reported, an older man at the Trump rally was attacked and beaten by young anti-Trump protesters. (Can’t embed the video but you’ll see it here.)

But then another version of the video (which you can see here) emerged, and it turns out the combative troublemaker provoked what seems like an understandable beatdown, if perhaps not quite self-defense.

The point is not to decide who is right and who is wrong or to try to sort justifiable from unjustifiable.

Rather, the point is, first of all, that you don’t know what versions of truth a particular person has seen.

We’ve had deliberately edited propaganda videos well before Trump, whether you mean the rightwing Planned Parenthood scam or a leftwing video in which protesters purposely antagonized Park Rangers at the Jefferson Memorial but only released the arrests at the very end.

The second, more critical, part of this is that we all have a moral obligation to seek truth before speaking. Even Ann Landers famously said you should ask, “Is it true? Is it fair? Is it necessary?”

But if you take money for reporting events and voicing an opinion, the requirement is many times more, and your professional bullshit detector should buzz just as loudly over things you think are true as over things you suspect are not.

The dictum among reporters is “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”

Or, to quote not-Twain, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

Among which you can count the belief that, when Trump is gone, our troubles will cease.

 

Community Comments

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#1 Paul Berge
November/16/2020
@ 8:28 am

“Trumpism” just doesn’t come across as ominous enough. Maybe “Trumpitude.”

As in “moral Trumpitude”…

#2 Bud Simpson
November/16/2020
@ 10:55 am

Mike, I wish more people were reading this. I linked to it on the Tweet Machine, but neglected to tag you.

So many of my circle seem to believe that our current condition came about because Trump was elected, and that once he is gone, or at least hobbled, things will return to “normal.” I’m afraid that this is our true normal, and will be the American normal for many years to come.

I can’t tell if it’s better to not know the truth, or to know the truth and pretend to not see it.

Thank you for your hard work, your excellent perspective, and your informed point of view.

#3 Hank Gillette
November/16/2020
@ 11:39 am

Clay Jones announced today on his blog and Twitter that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Best wishes, Clay.

#4 Mike Peterson
November/16/2020
@ 12:27 pm

I saw that, Hank, and advised him to find someone he trusts and then do what he’s told, which is how I got through cancer.

Which I would add did not prove that cancer isn’t bad after all, or that it’s a myth, or that it’s promoted for political purposes.

Hoping Clay has a similar outcome but I won’t tie it into any larger meanings if he does — except a continued flow of good cartoons.

#5 Mary McNeil
November/16/2020
@ 6:31 pm

Sending “thoughts and prayers” to Clay – and belated thanks for his work.Come back soon – but, as Mike says, follow the (correct) rules !

#6 phil von neupert
November/16/2020
@ 6:47 pm

At this point, Trump has roughly 73 million votes. That translates into roughly 30% of the voting-age public. (Less than one-third, but still too many.) Don’t let their noise fool you; Trump and his people are not even close to a majority. I wouldn’t turn my back on them, though.

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