Comic Strip of the Day – Sunday ranting

Keith Knight offers a round-up of good and bad news, starting with Massachusetts passing a law that will automatically register anyone who deals with DMV or the state’s health system as a voter (unless they object).

I like the move, though it doesn’t solve the photo ID issue, as he notes in that third panel. This may mostly be a rural issue, but, for those who don’t drive — mostly the poor and elderly — getting a non-driver photo ID can involve traveling an hour or more to a DMV office in a region with no public transportation.

Requiring Photo ID is a solution in search of a problem, assuming you keep voting districts relatively small, which they should be in order to deal with town council and other local elections.  But it’s a dandy way to intimidate voters and suppress the vote.

As for his fourth panel, when I was living in Plattsburgh, NY, we did have homemade chocolate chip cookies at the polling place, because it was a church hall and the parish ran a bake sale on election day.


But I’m gonna have to bend my rule about not getting snarky about cartoons to criticize this Tom Toles panel.

Toles is someone I generally agree with, and he’s not specifically mis-stating the history, but this is, for me, a fingernails-on-the-chalkboard thing I see way too often.

I fully agree with his take on the GOP’s attempts to suppress minority voting, but the 3/5ths Compromise was not a matter of devaluing the status of black people.

Rather, it was a way of getting the Constitution ratified while preventing slave states from unfairly dominating the nation.

Any injustice was not in counting slaves as “3/5ths of a person” but in counting them at all, given that representation in Congress was based on population.

The point was that slaves did not have the legal status of other people. Allowing the slave-holding states to treat their slaves as property but count them as people would have given them a super-majority in Congress based largely on those forbidden to vote.

A major point of the compromise was to get Southern states into the tent and deal with slavery later.

Admittedly, much, much later.

Shortly after Seneca Falls, the abolition and women’s suffrage movements split for a similar reason: Each had a better chance if they worked separately.

Southern states might be persuaded to let women vote, but were dead set against freeing their slaves in part because it meant creating a bloc of ex-slaves who — theoretically — could vote.

Women’s suffrage would double that black franchise, so that pairing the two movements gave neither a chance south of the Mason-Dixon.

(Soothing Dixie fears of a large black voting bloc is also why Congress inserted the word “male” in the 14th Amendment.)

FWIW, racism among suffragists was likely as evenly distributed as in the general population. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Ellen Paul both exhibited it, while Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass were close friends and allies.

But picking up Toles’ accusation of suppression, note that the administration wants to add a citizenship question to the Census, which could intimidate non-citizens into not participating, thus lowering the count of “free Persons” of non-white heritage for purposes of representation in Congress.

Dunno why those people have to be so distrustful.


Juxtaposition of the Season

(Mr. Boffo)

(Stephen Collins)

Summer’s nearly ended and how better to salute it than with a pair of cartoons that fly in the face of good parenting from both sides?

Let me remind readers of the times I’ve championed free-range parenting.

And I value my own childhood, but let’s be honest: I lived in a world not simply of four or five TV stations and no video games, but a very rural world in which one parent was home all day.

So I could be outside all summer as a small child, catching snakes and frogs within view of my house.

But even 30 or 40 years ago, my kids’ contemporaries spent the summer in daycare while, if they went to spend a month with Divorced Dad, they spent three of the four weeks watching HBO in his apartment because they didn’t know anyone there and he couldn’t take a whole month off to play.

And when he had time, he didn’t know the town from a kid’s perspective, which is how he became Zoo Daddy and Circus Daddy instead of just Hangout Dad.

Here, Joe Martin plays to the idea that inside every father is a little kid waiting for an excuse to have fun, while Stephen Collins mocks the holier-than-thou elitist.

Unlike “Smug Parent,” I know how lucky I was that our marriage lasted long enough, and that we behaved well enough in the aftermath, that our kids had our time and attention.

I may recommend things, but people with privilege need to STFU and be glad for their good fortune, not play it as superior virtue.

And, while I think sitting on the beach watching the waves roll in and the gulls fly by is infinitely preferable to playing video games, at least the guy in Mr. Boffo is doing something with his kid instead of turning his kids loose so he can sit at his computer patting himself on the back.

Now, let me carefully preface this next bit by noting that, while we can’t turn the clock back to the days of three networks, no video games and a parent always home, we can celebrate that, even in the macho world of the NFL, you’ve got players bringing their kids down on the field to celebrate victories with them, and saying that a Super Bowl win is the best day of their lives “except the day my son/daughter was born,” and putting “Sr.” after their name on the back of their jersey to honor tiny “Jr.”

There are some very good parenting role models emerging in football.

Which I had to say before confessing that this promo for NFL Network’s GameDay Morning is the funniest damn thing I’ve seen in a very long time:

4 thoughts on “Comic Strip of the Day – Sunday ranting

  1. One thing I miss from the old website is being able to embiggify by a single click. It was really hard trying to read the dialogue in the Stephen Collins.

  2. I set out to be a free-range parent, much as I’d been a free-range kid. I suspect my daughter is just as free-range as she wants to be. I revisited the old stomping grounds last month, and I have to say I had things a lot richer in terms of interesting things to walk or bike to, including a partly derelict go-kart track and an abandoned quarry.

  3. And, Kip, that reminds me of a minister who went from my old hometown — and, actually, a village even more in the woods — to Plattsburgh. His kids complained there was nothing to do there, despite a mall, movie theaters, etc. But they’d grown up with the woods, a river and all sorts of far more interesting distractions.

    I think that means he raised’em right.

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