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CSotD: Upon Further Review

Somebody reposted this David Rowe cartoon from November, 2016.

It was bad enough then, the feeling of “What have we done?”, but it felt like just a bad one-night stand, one of those regrettable times when you just throw on your clothes, get the hell out, swear you’ll never drink again and try to forget it ever happened.

It wasn’t even “I told you so” because nobody had.

Even those of us who felt the DNC had rammed a candidate down our throats who brought with her a quarter century of negative baggage had taken comfort from the polls that said she was going to win, which she sorta kinda did, except for not winning the election.

Most of us shrugged and talked about people who had refused to vote or who had pissed away their votes on Jill Stein or who had even voted for Trump as a protest, content that he would not win.

And we braced ourselves for four years of stupid speeches, secure in the knowledge that Congress would govern wisely, the courts would protect the nation and that, after all, his true supporters — “The Deplorables” — were few in number and likely to be distracted by the next shiny object to come along.

In her famous remarks about the Deplorables who could not be reached, Clinton had also spoken about his supporters who could, about

… people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change. It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.

They’re still out there, but they’re still largely ignored, or worse.

People who live in “flyover country” are still mocked as brainless rubes, and too many of the Wise And Educated talk about how a federal system gives too much power to rural people who “we” feel are too stupid and backward to understand anything.

But hundreds of people turned out to protest in tiny Potsdam and elsewhere in the forgotten area of New York where I grew up.

The people are there, and they’re willing to be reached.

 

Though there’s work to be done in the cities as well: As Signe Wilkinson points out, we’ve still got too many among the Wise and Educated who plan to piss away their votes in November.

 

And, as New Zealand cartoonist Sharon Murdoch notes, we’ve got too many people who still simply don’t get it, whose level of sympathy is constrained by a lack of digging deeper to see the lives that others live, not just in times of civil unrest but all the time, every day.

 

Alabama-based JD Crowe offers a thought about an MLK quote that has been heard a lot lately, and which explains the riots but, as his interpretation suggests, stops short of justifying them.

Understanding why something happened is not the same as hoping for it to happen, and you can regret even the inevitable.

One issue being that, throughout the world, we’ve seen a pattern of power in which, when there are uprisings, the response is that we cannot give in to violence, but that, when those uprisings cease, the response is that, obviously, all is well and no changes are required.

 

A more immediate issue now being that we have an insane leader who, as Peter Brookes suggests, is not simply denying calls for change but making it patriotic to oppose them with violence.

 

It has always been dangerous for journalists to cover violent, chaotic demonstrations, but, as Jen Sorensen documents, we’ve never had a leader who genuinely encouraged deliberate attacks on the press.

We’ve seen police attack both journalists and, as seen in numerous videos, peaceful protesters. What we’ve never seen before was the National Guard called in to assist, rather than to control, abusive actions.

 

Pat Bagley reproduces a moment in the pepper-ball attacks on that Louisville news team to point out the deliberate nature of authoritarian attempts to avoid having light shone upon their actions.

 

While Pia Guerra contrasts the world in which Dr. King made his presence felt with the world in which we live today.

There is, absolutely, a difference between being unheard, and being silenced.

So what now?

Rowe’s cartoon is no longer funny, because we’re not just regretting a one-night stand but trapped in an abusive, violent relationship, and Congress is not only no help but stands in the way of peace and justice.

George Will, of all unlikely people, has written an intense, no-holds-barred column calling for both Trump and his GOP enablers to be turned out, but, then again, who reads George Will?

It is reminiscent of Boss Tweed’s famous remark that he didn’t care what they wrote about him because his supporters didn’t read, but anyone can look at those damned pictures.

Only newspapers have been cutting back on editorial cartoons and the people who read newspapers, and see what cartoons are still there, are, like readers of George Will, likely on board already.

 

Matt Wuerker raises the fundamental question, a spin on the old Ronald Reagan campaign question, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”

His reminder of Trump’s first campaign complements Rowe’s portrait of the morning after, and the challenge is how to get that question in front of people who don’t read newspapers, and who may not distinguish between the propaganda of Fox and OAN and the “mainstream media” they’ve been told to distrust.

Still, they’re out there and they can be reached and, if we take them for granted this year as we did four years ago, we’ll get the same result we got four years ago.

Keep the faith, baby.

Community Comments

#1 Paul Berge
June/3/2020
@ 9:24 am

“Assume the worst is yet to come.” –George Will.
https://www.yahoo.com/huffpost/george-will-trump-republicans-094158272.html?ncid=facebook_yahoonewsf_akfmevaatca

#2 gezorkin
June/3/2020
@ 4:33 pm

‘It wasn’t even “I told you so” because nobody had.’

You stopped reading Jim Wright?

#3 Brian Cornelius
June/6/2020
@ 8:38 am

Roles cartoon identifies how like a one night stand and an abusive relationship people (GOP) are scared to stand up, speak up get out of it so they continually take it and act like it’s not real. Sadly the ones that had sense but no backbone retired/ran) leaving the sheep and country to the Hyena. And yes I said Hyena because it preys and destroys to its delight/greed even though it can lead to it’s own destruction.

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