CSotD: Nothing More Than Feelings

Let’s start by letting Mike Thompson answer the question we’ll be asking.

A major reason we have a man with a sociopathic lack of empathy in the White House is that we have a substantial number of people in our country with an equally pathological inability to see inside the lives of others.

It’s not that they look, see and decide it doesn’t matter. It’s not that they feel their needs are more important than someone else’s.

You can reason with that, you can find a compromise with that attitude.

But when they honestly see other people as simply wandering around interacting with them without having minds and lives and needs of their own, it’s hopeless.


Pat Bagley outlines the nonsensical mask issue, taking the liberty of casting the coronavirus as having conscious goals, which is silly but a good metaphor.

The virus simply is, and has no more intentions than, for instance, gravity. If people are going to leap out of airplanes without parachutes, gravity has no sense of victory. It simply does what gravity does.

And you could persuade a reasonable person that, while they might get away with jumping out of a second story window, they probably shouldn’t jump from the fourth floor.

If they don’t believe in gravity, however, then jumping off a stool and jumping out of an airplane are pretty much the same thing.


And once they decide that their odd view of science and causality is a political, rather than a logical, position, as Gary Varvel illustrates here, there’s little argument possible at all.

Though you could check to see if their absolutist view of the right to peaceably assemble conflicts with a policy of tear-gassing and beating peaceful crowds to clear the way for Dear Leader to walk to his Bible-waving photo op.

But, again, if they can’t empathize with others, you can’t expect the discussion to go anywhere.


Tom the Dancing Bug lays out the utter illogic in the situation, and while a sociopathic lack of empathy allows Dear Leader to politicize the issue of a pandemic, Bolling is right to suggest that the overall response — or lack thereof — is ultimately based on Trump refusing to accept responsibility.

Wearing a mask would be conceding a crisis, and conceding the crisis would be accepting a duty to fix it, which brings us to a conceptual

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Tom Toles)

(Adam Zyglis)

Toles is somewhat kind, in that he leaves open the possibility of honest ignorance, though the caption suggests insanity rather than innocent naivete.

By contrast, Zyglis depicts a genuine intent to ignore what these governors know to be the truth.

Whether they are kowtowing to the Trumpanzees or simply to their own business owners is not terribly important: They’re knowingly, willfully putting people’s lives at risk for political and/or economic benefits.

Somewhere in all that is the Trump administration’s filing of a brief to the Supreme Court hoping to completely overturn the ACA.

It’s something of a coincidence, I suspect, that their success would strip 27 million people of health care in the midst of the pandemic.

Since they’re not only unable to empathize with others but also unwilling to admit the extent of the pandemic, there’s likely no connection.


The Affordable Care Act, like Hillary Clinton’s email, has become such a symbol of the rightwing lunatic fringe’s hatred of Obama that it doesn’t matter what motivation they might have for tearing it down.

Antonio Branco, who cartoons from the far right, likely intends to praise Trump for destroying that legacy, rather than comparing him to vandals, but this cartoon could readily appear in liberal publications.


However, recent polls suggest, as Nick Anderson illustrates it, that non-fringe conservatives are starting to walk away from Dear Leader, and no amount of post-Tulsa explanations about why the place was so empty will negate the fact that it was.


Those polls also suggested to Clay Bennett that, even if Trump rejects social distancing, he’s managed to bring about a different kind of distancing.

Election night, there were people who had cast a protest vote assuming Clinton would win, and were horrified to have helped enable a Trump victory.

Since then, people who thought Trump would stir things up but be held in check by a patriotic Congress have also rethought their expectations.

But the fall-away now is beginning to cascade, and the funny part is that progressives are cautioning people not to rely on the polls, while Trump supporters also remind people that the polls were wrong in 2016.

Well, yeah, but not 14 points wrong. Wrong within the margin of error. And Clinton did, as the polls predicted, win the popular vote.


Trump is pleased to pretend Biden isn’t actively campaigning and it’s true Biden has made reporters actively look for his announcements rather than simply show up for large public contaminations.

But as John Cole suggests, and an old African folktale said first, sometimes the smart move is to just lay low and let your opponent punch and kick an imaginary opponent until he can’t move.

So far, the best Trump has been able to do is to hang the “Sleepy Joe Biden” name on a man shown to have danced up the ramp Dear Leader could barely shuffle down, and to accuse him of making verbal errors.

Hell of an attack from the man, who — as he was accepting an hour’s worth of national broadcast time as an in-kind donation from Sean Hannity — came up with this articulate statement:

Well, one of the things that will be really great, you know the word experience is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience. I’ve always said that. But the word experience is a very important word. It’s an — a very important meaning.

As Steve Martin said

If you don’t have a command of language, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about, because … let’s face it, some people have a way with words, other people, oh, not have way, I guess.


7 thoughts on “CSotD: Nothing More Than Feelings

  1. “When they honestly see other people as simply wandering around interacting with them without having minds and lives and needs of their own, it’s hopeless.”

    I thought it was The Sims.

  2. We could’ve had a logical, coordinated, ongoing response to COVID. The *president could’ve set a helpful example by wearing a mask and encouraging his followers to do the same; instead he gave some stupid excuse about it making him look “weak”—and now we’ve got a whole base of idiots that are spreading it around because they think the same. We’ve got cartoonists like Varvel and his ilk and all the cream-cheese-filled talking heads who tell their followers convinced that wearing a mask is one step from the gulag, and their followers believe them. Now most business owners that want to enforce mask wearing are a afraid to do it because they don’t want to risk the chance of some paranoid wingnut flipping out and putting everyone in more danger.

    I keep hearing about how I’m supposed to forgive, but nope—I don’t see why I should. Every time some jack wagon plants the idea that doing a single simple thing to control the virus is anti-American or weak or godless or whatever, they go on making the country a little bit worse. I will never forgive a single one of them.

  3. I have a wonderful little book called Whispered Anecdotes that consists of real political jokes from behind the Iron Curtain, compiled by a chemistry teacher who came to the US and taught in Boulder. The book wraps up with my favorite story of the lot, when Mao and Brezhnev and Dubcek all end up at the Pearly Gates, and St. Peter offers each one the granting of a wish.

    “Then let Russia be wiped out by earthquakes!” says Mao. “Let the destruction continue until not one brick stands upon another!”

    “Let China we destroyed by floods!” rages Brezhnev. “Let them wash out all memory that such a place ever existed!”

    Dubcek crossed his legs and said, “Well. As long as you are granting these gentlemen their wishes, I would like a cup of coffee.”

  4. ps: I’m also reminded of a scene from Rango, the Tim Conway sitcom about an incompetent Texas Ranger. In one scene, Rango/Conway, fearing ambush, rolls clumsily out of a doorway into the street, blasting away with both guns as the villains watch. One turns to the other and says “Maybe if we leave him alone, he’ll shoot himself.”

  5. And Trump is such an incompetent businessman that he totally missed the opening that Covid-19 provided him.
    At the first notice that masks would help, he ‘should’ have called Jared and told him to have somebody QUICKLY make up 100 million Official, Trump Brand, MAGA masks. (trademark)
    He’d have made a fortune.
    AND would be getting better numbers in the polls.

  6. I liked the John Cole cartoon the most. I’ve always compared Trump to a punch-drunk boxer in terms of policy (or lack thereof.) Lately he’s been so obviously out of touch that I’m beginning to wonder if he’s not “taking a dive.” My theory is that Trump is looking for a way out of a job he never really wanted, while retaining his supporters for future exploitation. That, or he really is completely nuts!

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