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CSotD: Good News, Bad News, Our News

It’s hard to rank all the disparate pieces of news these days, but let’s start with the destruction of the Republican Party, which isn’t really “news,” since it is part of a process that began a generation or so ago, when Newt Gingrich and his cohorts began a transformation that saw a lot of right-leaning moderates resign, retire or never join the party in the first place.

If you felt a hard-right party was needed, that’s not “bad news,” because the GOP has maintained power throughout this change.

However, Michael de Adder (Counterpoint) illustrates what may be the endgame for the Republicans, with them in total submission to one man who wasn’t even a Republican until they made him their candidate in 2016.

And however you feel about Trump’s impact on the integrity of our political system, that other burden, the “Post Election Cash Grab,” is pure bunkum, with Trump lining his and RNC pockets with donations by loyal people who think they’re paying to help overturn a fraud.

Even if you believe there was a fraud, it’s hard to justify a second one.

Yet nobody speaks up.

Wishing for a hardline, rightwing government to replace traditional American norms may not be objectively “bad,” if you sincerely think we’d all be better off that way.

But supporting a scam in which Dear Leader misleads people into giving him money is pretty hard to justify, and sitting by in silence seems bad.

And sitting by while people alienated by bogus claims of fraud take up arms and surround the home of a government official, shouting threats at her family, is objectively evil.

Just as sitting by while a Trump loyalist governor sends armed men to stop a former official from releasing public information, including holding her children at gunpoint, is objectively evil.

 

Robert Ariail (AMS) suggests that Trump’s hardline insistence on a separate reality will inspire panicked voting.

It could, or it could repel voters.

The Georgia special elections should hint at what is to come, and whether GOP voters will remain as loyal as GOP leadership.

 

I suspect the best we can hope for is not that they will cross the aisle and vote against candidates who appear guilty of insider trading and profiting from the pandemic, but that they will stay home and not vote at all.

Clay Bennett (CTFP) points out how clear and objective the evidence appears to be, but elections hinge less on facts than on group identification. People who identify as Republicans will likely either vote that way or not vote at all.

Mirroring the 221 out of 249 Republican members of Congress who simply didn’t respond when the Washington Post asked who they thought had won the Presidency.

Whether or not silence implies consent, it doesn’t count as a vote.

Try to remember votes.

One day you may want to explain them to your grandchildren.

 

But there is also good news. Alexandra Bowman (Ind) points out that, while Trump has opened up oil and gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, anyone who wants to disrupt nature is going to have to bring their own wallet.

In earlier discussion here, it was suggested that, while the incoming administration could reverse the policy change, it would be hard once contracts had been signed.

But, as Bowman notes, major banks are not going to pony up money for a dubious venture with oil prices depressed, opposition from a large segment of the public and the potential for extraordinary expenses in extracting oil without damaging the fragile environment.

Which reminds me to remind you that “Paying the Land,” Joe Sacco’s brilliant graphic examination of the impact of petroleum development in the Athabasca not only makes a great holiday present but that I’ve linked it to another bit of good news — an on-line bookseller that pays a commission to the local bookstore in your community.

 

Meanwhile, far to the south, Pat Bagley (SLT) notes the potential for healing if Joe Biden reverses Trump’s decision to open the Bears Ears for mining and other commercial exploitation.

It’s an interesting point that the Navajo people there are cousins of the aforementioned Gw’ichen people of the Athabasca, but there are four other tribes involved in that more southern intrusion of conquerors over exploited, including the Comanche whose Grand Escalante has also been violated by the potential for development.

It’s even more interesting that the Utah Republicans who supported Dear Leader’s move explain that they want a policy that reflects the wishes of all Utahans.

Those who want to simply — poof! — do away with the Electoral College may want to chew on this example of how “tyranny of the majority” plays out, but, then again, Native American Heritage Month ended last week, so who cares?

 

And now back to the bad news, where conservative cartoonists like Gary Varvel (Creators) continue to stoke the fires of resentment, though I think capturing the loyalty of young voters would start with knowing the difference between Darth Vader and the Emperor.

For that matter, it doesn’t do much for older voters who had to deal with kids in search of that rare Emperor action figure. I suppose today, you’d simply order it from Amazon, but, back then, it meant stopping at every store that could conceivably be selling the damn things and then rooting through their entire selection.

My son eventually got his in a trade. Probably a lousy trade in which he gave up way too much.

So I guess there is a parallel after all.

(Update: See comments. Varvel is correct, I am wrong, the Emperor was named Darth Sidious in some sequels well after I stopped paying attention.)

(which was just after the speeder bike scene.)

 

If we are going to debate politics via popular culture, though, I’m not sure threatening a return to Obama’s values is a whole lot more intimidating than threats of the Comfy Chair, but perhaps that’s just me.

And the 81,271,128 others who voted for Biden.

Or didn’t.

Depending on which parallel universe you inhabit.

 

Finally, Ed Hall (Artizans) isn’t the only person to cite the death toll at Pearl Harbor in current context, but he had the great good sense to simply lay it out and not hammer it home.

Nor shall I.

 

Community Comments

#1 Laurel Strand
December/8/2020
@ 9:25 am

My impression is that many people hold the belief that the Electoral College functions, or was designed, to prevent tyranny of the majority.

But now, I think that an argument could be made that it promotes tyranny of the minority.

#2 Nicholas Merritt
December/8/2020
@ 11:57 am

For a less consequential comment today, I would like to bring to your consideration that the Emperor was more formally referred to as “Darth Sidious” (sp?). Don’t recall if that ever came up in the movies, so it may be a moot point as far as attempting to be hip goes, but given that the quote is also from Sidious I think Varvel at least knows that much.

#3 Kip Williams
December/8/2020
@ 12:53 pm

I like the bit with the online bookstore kicking some back to the locals. I don’t know if it amounts to much, but the idea is at least a move in the right direction.

#4 Clay Jones
December/8/2020
@ 6:01 pm

The Emperor was DARTH Sidious. Still a shitty cartoon by Varvel though.

#5 Mike Corrado
December/9/2020
@ 3:30 pm

Thanks for the Bookstore link!

#6 Christopher Ward
December/11/2020
@ 12:07 am

Despite living in Utah, I still haven’t gotten a really good grasp on the Bears Ears issues, other than that at first, Obama made the monument too big, and then Trump trimmed it too small, às well as trimming part of Escalate, which I’d never heard of as being considered for trimming until it had happened.

Personally, I find both of those points to be accurate, that the original boundary was needlessly large (and supposedly even the local tribes agreed that that was the case) but that more needs protection than has it now.

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