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CSotD: Catch them being good

We’ll start with Pooch Cafe, which is based on a question I’ve never asked a dog, not for fear of getting Poncho’s response but because I don’t expect any response at all.

But I keep asking the question of politicians and I have no idea why, except that every once in awhile one of them does give me Poncho’s response, which renews my faith in the system, though it kills them in the polls.

It can also kill them in the editorial cartoons, since it’s more apt to be taken as a point of vulnerability than a bit of refreshing candor.

I do, by the way, assure my dog not only that he is a good dog but that he’s the best dog I have, secure in the knowledge that he’ll be so pleased to hear it that he won’t look around and take a head count.

Which metaphor also applies to some political figures at the moment.


Clay Jones offers not only a biting cartoon but a most excellent rant over Dear Leader’s insane, self-justifying Tweetstorm, including his staff’s dodging of whether the President is a white supremacist or only plays one on television.

Jones and I are hardly the only people to float the term “insane” over this  and I’d sure like to drop in on the Conway household for breakfast, though Kellyanne assures the press that she’s too busy getting their kids off to school to know what’s happening in the news.

It’s just a shame automobiles don’t come with radios, because I’d think the drive into DC would give you time to absorb the news and show up prepared to do your damn job.

However, one must be kind. She’s still suffering PTSD from having witnessed the Bowling Green Massacre.

Oh, sue me, Kellyanne.

Why not? Devin Nunes is suing Twitter for conspiring to repress him.

He’s even suing Devin Nunes’ Mom, which is either a spoof account or perhaps his real mother, with whom, by the way, he had drunken sex in an outhouse.

However, clownish as this cabal of imbeciles may appear, Jones’s cartoon is correct to peg this delusional idiocy to actual deaths, at which point it becomes decidedly unfunny and triggers a three-way

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Tom Toles)

(Ed Wexler)

(Matt Wuerker)

There comes a tipping point where you realize that pointing out the facts does not have an appreciable effect on people.

That is, it will not convert those who need to be turned around if we are going to preserve the shreds of our national image.

Trump has a 42% approval rate, which is comparable to other presidents at this stage of their administrations. And even if you have no problem with his championing of white supremacists, he has also violated basic principles of honesty, of marital fidelity, of sexual behavior in general and of common decency.

There have been many “What if Obama had done this?” speculations and I noted the other day how the conservatives bashed Jimmy Carter for admitting that, despite his best efforts to adhere to Biblical teaching, he could not help sometimes having “lust in his heart.”

The answer is that Obama and Carter were members of the other team, and any hockey fan has seen the screaming, drooling losers who go to games so that they can pound on the glass and scream insults at the opposing players and at the refs, over infractions that never happened of rules they don’t understand.

It does make me wonder what dreary, failure-ridden lives they must live between games. And I do pity them for that.

But I also wish they’d shut up, sit down and let us watch the game.

The fact that those pitiable, toxic tools will never change their ways does not suggest that we should stop pointing out that the Emperor is naked.

It won’t make them see, but it does work to comfort those who find themselves fighting what increasingly seems like a rearguard action.

And let’s remember that Dunkirk wasn’t the end of that war.

Which makes it that much more important to, as Ann Telnaes does, take notice when someone does the right thing.

A quick comparison:

Rob Rogers did this cartoon after the Max 8’s were grounded but before the New Zealand murders. It’s a good cartoon that makes an excellent point.

But, aside from the intervening events which added fire to the argument, I prefer Telnaes’ piece because she ties in the money.

It is perhaps not surprising, in a more intimately small nation like New Zealand, that Jacinda Ardern did so many things right.

But her ability to speak heart-to-heart with her fellow citizens also stems from the fact that she is not in the hip pocket of corporate donors.

Boeing got a temporary reprieve from a president who is more loyal to corporate people than individual people, but guns get a complete pass, and the gun lobby is able protect its special standing, because of the Citizens United concept of “corporate people.”

It is much more practical to fight against money in politics than to rail against people for being racist, and for being the tools of racists.

Racism may, alas, be a permanent part of any diverse nation. But it does not have to be an effective political mechanism: Take away the money and watch how quickly the hot air seeps out of that balloon.

Meanwhile there is a principle in both child raising and office management called “Catch them being good,” which states that it’s more effective to praise the right things than to criticize the bad.

That also applies to politics, and so Telnaes makes a stronger point by contrasting New Zealand’s open, decent government with our own hobbled system.

Anyway, whatever it actually does to buoy up the troops, you always walk away from praise with a smile on your face, and we could all use some of that.



Hot Tip: Fantagraphics is having its annual Spring Clearance, which includes some very good stuff at very good prices. You don’t have to go and take a look, take a look, take a look, but you’ll thank me.

Community Comments

#1 Sean Martin
@ 11:56 am

Perhaps the cynic in me is rising way to the fore, but I’m starting to think you Americans actually like having a white supremacist as leader. Sure, everyone talks about AOC and the rest of the Democrat slate… but is anyone really putting all that much pressure on your still-idiotic congress to do anything beyond a lot of very expensive posturing?

You had what was arguably the best example of a president possible for eight years, and at the same time, collectively you folks did everything you could to cut him off at the knees. Oh yeah, voted best like man on the planet eleven years running, but so what? People like Turtle Boy keep getting voted back in, and you cant blame that on gerrymandering.

I dunno, Mike. It’s like the whole “we believe in equality and freedom for all” nonsense the US loves loves loves to talk about… even as it makes it exceedingly clear that terms and conditions apply… and it will happily provide the means to kill anyone who doesnt make the cut.

#2 Mary McNeil
@ 4:57 pm

Thanks for that link about the Bowling Green Massacre. I guess we should probably begin referring to that battle in the summer of 1876 as “The Sioux Masterminds.”

And if KellyAnne meant Bowling Green in Ohio, I defer to my alma mater, Kent State, for massacre references.

Sean – when do you folks up North plan to build your Wall? I need to get a passport…_

#3 Ryan Freemyer
@ 9:02 am

I lived my first 18 years in a town of 500 people in west Texas. I know how they think because I use to think the same way. I kept in contact with my friends from home until the Obama years. After that I couldn’t stand to hang out with them due to racist language and insults. Racism is the rule in rural red areas. Racism is why they hated Obama . Racism is the reason they vote for trump. I know some suburban republicans held there noses to vote for trump because they have republican ideals. It’s understandable because who knew he would be this disgusting and embarrassing and immoral. We know now.
35% of Germans voted for Hitler. The other 65% let those racists take them down with them. We have a similar choice.

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