CSotD: Cynicism, Realism and Pragmatism

Over in Prickly City, Carmen has been searching for normalcy and Winslow has been denying it means what she thinks it means.

The problem with cynicism — a philosophy I tend to align with — is that, while it can provide a comforting sense of stability, it can also lead to inertia.

“It’s always been this way” is a reason not to panic, but it shouldn’t be an excuse not to strive.

Both JFK and RFK famously cribbed this line from a Shaw play, and it’s an apt expression of their intentions to understand reality, but not accept it:

You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say “Why not?”


Scott Stantis poses the issue a second time, apart from his comic strip, in this editorial cartoon, only this time not in the philosophical sense of the word “cynic” but in the modern sense.

Constant Readers will recognize it as a comparison I’ve made several times, and I’d like to not see history repeat itself, but wonder if anyone down at the DNC is listening, either to me or to Scott or to history or to reason.


This Kirk Walters cartoon addresses the crucial need for the Democrats to get down to a sensible number of candidates, though it is definitely of the modern definition of “cynical,” since it belittles what messages have come out of the scrum with the notion that wanting to help people is a bad thing.

Wanting to help them with crystals is worthy of snickering, but bringing health care under control deserves consideration.

On the other hand, asking candidates to micro-define their medical plans and then choosing among specific proposals is ridiculous, since whatever happens next will go through the same sausage-making process as all other major laws.

That’s not cynicism; that’s realism.

To put it another way, it’s realistic and wise to look at the current Democratic effort and compare it to the disaster a similar process produced in 1972.

But there’s a difference between declaring the party DOA and suggesting that it get its shit together.


Meanwhile, back at the OK Corral

I can identify with the grandad in Marshall Ramsey‘s cartoon, but there are two ways to read this panel, and they intertwine.

One is that we lower the flag too damn often. It’s a gesture we once reserved for Presidents, Supreme Court Justices and the like, and when it was extended to a private citizen, it was someone like Martin Luther King.

In recent years, it seems as though we lower the flag if someone runs over a squirrel, with the result that the gesture has lost impact. A nation that mourns everyone is the same as a nation that mourns no-one.

Blend into that the number of mass shootings we’ve had, and the result is symbolic of the response: We’re all very sad. Thoughts, prayers and the flag at half-staff.


So, as Steve Artley points out, the President — having done his deep mourning on a golf course — goes on the TelePrompter and makes a hollow speech full of hollow words.

When Trump is on-script, his voice becomes oddly flat and he sounds like a little boy being forced to apologize to the neighbor for breaking a window.

He says the words he has been told to say, and hopes that, having done so, his parents will pay for the damage or the neighbor will forgive it, but that it won’t come out of his allowance.


Darrin Bell being the neighbor who has lived next door to Donnie the Menace long enough that he isn’t persuaded there’s any intent to change.

That is realism, not cynicism.

And, before I move on from this analogy, let me once more note that there is a great clue to understanding Donald Trump in that he was shipped off to military school while his other siblings were permitted to live at home.

It makes me wonder what sort of adult he’d have become, if they’d had Zoloft instead of punishments back then, and it’s sad and I’m sympathetic but we have to deal with what he is, not what he might have been.

I have to assume that even what, in those days, was termed “an incorrigible brat” did not want his parents to give up on him.

I know for sure that prep schools and military schools turned out more than their share of bullies.

It’s a childhood to be pitied, but also to be dealt with.

And that’s pragmatism.


Clay Jones accurately depicts the current-day conniver who calls himself a “deal maker” but has repeatedly failed in his “deals.”

There’s a game of “Yay/Boo” being played here, in which Dear Leader pledges to push for background checks (Yay!) and then tacks on immigration reform (Boo!) and, as Jones suggests, his henchmen will be happy to add on all sorts of riders and amendments, including, it wouldn’t surprise me, one to rescind the background checks.

He’s got the White House and the Senate under his thumb. If he’s sincere, it should be easy to cooperate with the House and just skip the back-patting, log-rolling and sausage-making this time around.

Let’s see background checks come through in a single bill with no attachments.

And he also said we should improve mental health treatment. Let’s see the funding for that come through, too, and, if you have to take the money from somewhere, build one less cruiser, or two or three fewer bombers.

Keep your sincere hands off education, welfare and entitlements.


Or join Moscow Mitch in, as Jack Ohman puts it, being completely transparent in your hypocrisy.

Joke I Shouldn’t Have Laughed At:  Someone on Twitter commented on McConnell’s accident, in which he fell and broke his shoulder, that he had finally brought something to the floor.

Shame on him, shame on me and now shame on you.


And shame on Nick Anderson, too, for making a joke that tells so much truth in such an unpalatable way.

What a cynic!

One thought on “CSotD: Cynicism, Realism and Pragmatism

  1. Of course he ties gun restrictions to immigration reform. We’ll only limit our self defense if we can be assured no brown people will invade us. Despicable.

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