Leading off with John Deering (Creators) today, not because it’s a brilliant cartoon but because it isn’t.
While others are either showing an unbecoming wish for revenge or a distinctly unflattering hint of hypocrisy, Deering simply depicts the country waiting for news, with the only moral value attached being a somewhat understated element of sorrow, which, I suppose, you could interpret as confusion or foreboding if you’d like.
Tim Campbell (WashPost Syndicate) is right that a lot of people on the left side of the aisle — though hardly all — are consciously avoiding saying what’s on their minds.
As noted here yesterday, after three and a half years of loudly criticizing Trump’s Evangelicals for failing to live up to Christ’s teachings, there’s a test now of whether progressive Christians can do any better.
But good for those who have bitten their tongues, because there’s a lot to criticize and carp over, with the moral dividing line being, IMHO, whether you express anger with presidential policies or dire wishes for the man himself.
Pia Guerra (The Nib) treads the safe side of that line, I think, and she’s not the only person furious with the president for having spread the virus through bad advice and ill-conceived gatherings.
I also think, by making it a general statement rather than referring to a specific event, she’s safe from having to backtrack in light of new information, given that there seems to be confusion over, as the phrase goes, what the president knew and when he knew it.
Certainly, the Rose Garden gathering to announce his choice of Amy Coney Barrett appears to have been a major superspreader, and images of GOP bigwigs not simply unmasked, not simply in close proximity, but actually hugging each other, calls into question both his policies and their common sense.
It almost doesn’t matter, as we untangle the muddled timeline, whether the President knew he was positive when he held the event, because it was a goddam stupid thing anyway, marked with the same arrogance that caused his party to refuse to wear the masks that had been agreed to at the debate in Cleveland.
But seeing the Barrett children sitting next to an infectious First Lady, all unmasked, puts a chilling spin on things: You may be able to justify hoping how Bill Barr’s tete-a-tete with an infectious Kellyanne Conway turns out, but you’d have to be particularly vile to wish the same for those kids.
Still, Rod Emmerson (New Zealand Herald) is not wrong to hurl scripture back in the faces of those who quote the Bible to justify cruel, heartless and ill-conceived policies and attitudes.
On a personal level, there are tragic times you simply don’t ask, “What the hell were you thinking?”
However, it’s a perfectly appropriate question related to policies, and, while Emmerson comes extremely close to gloating over the president’s illness, putting it on a MAGA hat is an accusation about the lies that brought all of us, not just Donald and Melania Trump, to this place.
And there have been plenty of postings on social media from people who have lost loved ones to a disease that could have been better contained if it had not become an anti-science political pawn.
As well as from some who, unlike Chris Christie, did not have the influence or insurance coverage to be able to check into a hospital on a precautionary basis.
As a cause for demanding better healthcare for all Americans, their fury is not misplaced.
It’s a tangled web, and there’s a difference between asking for consistency and indulging in whataboutism, but I think some of the tongues that need to be bitten now are those that giggled over Hillary Clinton’s bout with the flu, snickered over Joe Biden’s speech impediment and failed to criticize Dear Leader for mocking a reporter’s disability.
Steve Breen (Creators) doesn’t make a full mea culpa — and I don’t recall how or even if he addressed those particular issues — but what works here is that, while he asks mercy for the Trumps on a personal level, he adds a plea to de-weaponize science and common sense.
It’s a reminder that the middle of the road is not a bad place after all.
I find it much harder to accept Gary Varvel (Creators)‘s decision to resurrect the Yellow Peril aspect of the pandemic, with a cartoon in which he not only repeats the dubious conspiracy theory of coronavirus as a manufactured bioweapon but adds the touch of Xi wearing a Biden campaign button.
It’s one thing for conservatives to suddenly remember the lyrics to Kumbaya and demand we sing along, quite another to turn their own potential tragedy into further divisive attacks on their opponents.
Morten Morland (London Times) offers a combination of criticism and hope, which is that the president, and the leadership he represents, has awakened to the foolishness not only of denial but — in swapping out “e pluribus unum” for “e virus bunkum” — of using that denial to divide the nation.
By depicting the Eagle as having fallen ill, he not only moves away from attacking Donald Trump the man, but sweeps in the rest of the West Wing faithful and GOP brass who have begun testing positive.
And then David Rowe (Financial Review) bookends the Deering piece we led with, not depicting Uncle Sam as standing watch outside the White House but as going on his way, anxiously trying to remain updated in a world that has changed.
And while Rowe is rarely who I turn to for uplifting, hopeful thoughts, there is, lurking behind what is, for him, a decidedly neutral take on things, this: Our attitude towards AIDS changed markedly when famous people like Rock Hudson and Arthur Ashe contracted the disease.
It’s depressing to think that Covid is, as he suggests, part of our new-normal, but, then again, perhaps that’s how we put behind us the toxic politics of masks and the empty promises of vaccines based not on science but on the date of the election.
Whatever the fate of Donald Trump, either the president or the man.