See All Topics

Home / Section: Comic strips

CSotD: On the Eve

Wiley Miller somewhat overstates things in today’s Non Sequitur (AMS), but, then again, overstatement is part of the cartoon toolbox, and, if he’s laying it out in starkly binary terms, he’s certainly correct that anyone who can’t see the choices is astonishingly clueless.

 

Rob Rogers (Ind) keeps it on this earthly plain, and the set of choices he proposes remains extreme but more specific, particularly in the suggestion that Biden is old and a bit patched together but comfortable.

The Trump choice, by contrast, threatens death when the fact is, the worst won’t happen to that Undecided Voter, but to other people they failed to think of.

In that sense, it’s like Covid: When you look purely at the odds, you won’t likely get it and, if you do, it won’t likely kill you.

For that matter, you won’t likely be killed in an automobile accident, but it still makes sense to fasten your seat belt and avoid driving drunk.

And, to carry that metaphor further, you might run over a pedestrian, but you won’t be injured yourself and if you think that means there’s no risk, well, I can’t help you.

The choice you make — or avoid — will impact someone. If you don’t feel your own future is at risk, there’s always the matter of a wider responsibility to society.

 

To which end Steve Brodner (Ind) republishes an earlier piece, which I had first seen, and reported on, back in 2018 in my coverage of that year’s MoCCA festival in discussing a session where Brodner joined Ann Telnaes and Mr. Fish and in which, as you might imagine, there were not many pulled punches.

The point being just as stated there: Whether Brodner was, at the time, accusing Trump of Nazi sympathies is completely secondary to his insight into the extremist appeal being projected.

The degree to which white supremacy and totalitarianism have since surfaced is interesting and should provide additional motivation, of course, since what seemed, at the time, an extreme accusation has become a great deal more reasonable if not any more palatable.

 

Steve Sack (Star Tribune) has a more gentle statement about how Trump’s extremist views, behaviors and policies have created long lines of early voters and piles of mail-in ballots.

But make no mistake: The fact that Sack doesn’t invoke Hitler does not subtract from the anger in that voter’s eyes in the final panel.

Whether Brodner was prescient or events made his initial sally come true doesn’t particularly matter: If he was over-the-top when he first said it, he’s no longer throwing out an extreme insult, and Sack’s list of grievances, disappointments and insults explains the process we’ve been through over the past four years.

 

Such that I’m inclined to agree with Kirk Walters (KFS) that there is no silent army of Trump voters out there who are unwilling to declare themselves among friends and acquaintances but will suddenly appear at the polls tomorrow.

If there remain people unwilling to speak up, they are likely the ones who declare themselves “undecided,” but are, instead, “uninvolved.”

As I’ve said before, I don’t think there are many truly undecided voters and suspect they are, rather, embarrassed and unwilling to admit they have no idea what’s going on.

It is to be expected. People who see no further than the ends of their noses, despite whatever chaos may be erupting all around them, have always been a factor in the world, if a passive one.

 

But don’t mistake involvement for thoughtfulness. Nick Anderson (WPWG) decries the thuggery seen on a Texas highway this weekend, and I don’t disagree, but I think it’s important to note that it’s not the event itself that should shock the conscience so much as the president not only failing to criticize the extremists among his supporters but praising them.

 

This Tweet not only establishes his approval of the thugs and his intent to demonize dissent, but repeats the criticism he made of the FBI in an interview in which he expressed his disinterest in having them investigate foreign interference in our elections.

Which I quoted accurately at the time, though I may have slightly altered the setting in which it occurred.

But without swastikas or comparisons to Capone, there remains this factor we’re going to have to deal with, and that is the popularity of thuggishness.

I’m on long record as feeling that, while the police riot at the Democratic Convention in 1968 brought the antiwar movement national and international attention — the whole world was indeed watching — it made being part of that movement more of a fad than a result of sincere political commitment.

And I think now that going out and blocking highways, and intimidating those who do not share rightwing political convictions, is going to be a fad people will join because they perceive it as hip, as fun, as a way to identify with a group.

 

Jeff Koterba (Cagle) portrays the left-behind Trump supporters in Omaha, and the same thing happened again Saturday after a rally in Pennsylvania, the joke in it all being that one of Trump’s campaign slogans is “Promises Made, Promises Kept.”

Coal miners and factory workers aside, he doesn’t even keep the promise of a ride back to your car.

It doesn’t matter. Woodstock was a collection of logistical disasters and not only did it not discourage people from enjoying rock music, but it spawned additional multi-day outdoor concerts that were, if anything, even more poorly planned.

Trump gains far less support through promises kept than he does through branding, through creating a thing people can feel they can identify with and belong to.

It is a matter of charisma, not policy, and, to be sure, that is a fact that applies to most popular leaders of whatever political persuasion.

It was true of JFK, it was equally true of Castro.

 

In the end, Jeff Stahler (AMS) is right: Dear Leader seems a great deal less interested in attracting votes than in preventing them.

Which should tell you all you need to know.

 

Community Comments

#1 Lisa Pardy
November/2/2020
@ 12:05 pm

There used to be shy Trump voters – in 2016. I have a friend in North Carolina who told me the day after the 2016 election, Trump sighs sprouted on her neighbours’ lawns like dandelions. She said, “I never felt so betrayed”.

In other news, kudos to Trump for making “thug” an equal opportunity term again and not just a code word for “black male”.

#2 Mary McNeil
November/2/2020
@ 2:47 pm

To be fair, Woodstock was not held in freezing weather was it ?

#3 Mike Peterson
November/2/2020
@ 4:58 pm

Yes, it was. You weren’t there, so you can’t dispute it.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.