CSotD: The Greatest Generation doesn’t live here anymore

Having recently discussed how often cartoonists land on the same concept, here’s Adam Zyglis (Cagle) with an example of accepting the fact and making it work.

Rockwell’s painting is “Freedom from Want,” one of his four freedom classics, celebrating the best of American culture and tradition, and, specifically, the Four Freedoms laid out in FDR’s 1941 inaugural address. The gathering in it is not specifically Thanksgiving; it could be Christmas, another turkey holiday.

It’s frequently parodied by cartoonists this time of year: I featured Steve Breen’s version last Saturday, which did well by simply sprinkling coronaviruses throughout the painting itself, a concept that has been repeated by others since, perhaps less elegantly.

Zyglis, however, tackles the topic, and the painting, more head on.

He doesn’t simply point out the danger of a large, close gathering of people who don’t live in quarantine. Instead, he goes back to Rockwell and Roosevelt’s original intent and comments on the degradation of a once vital nation by the cynical manipulation of our ignorance, fear and selfish instincts.

This unflattering portrait indeed portrays “Freedom from Science,” and, along with that, “Freedom from Trust.”

Bearing in mind that, for all the hatred of Roosevelt by the original “America Firsters,” the nation, as a whole, accepted his leadership and were thus able to climb out of the Depression and launch a successful antifa campaign.

Zyglis is correct: It’s not that every Thanksgiving gathering will spread the virus. It’s that every Thanksgiving gathering risks spreading the virus, every gathering is a roll of the dice, in a nation that no longer believes in science and no longer trusts common sense, much less expertise.

No cartoonist should be afraid to go down a well-trodden path. You simply have to bring something new and important to the piece.

Zyglis doesn’t offer a way to dig ourselves out of the pit of selfish ignorance that has people insisting on rolling those dice with their own family members, but he helps to keep the problem — if you’ll pardon the pun — on the table.


Our nation faces a challenge in digging out, as Stuart Carlson (AMS) points out, because the forces of paranoia and ignorance are firmly dug in, reinforced by a cabal of power freaks who have entrenched themselves throughout the past four years and before.

I’ve been remembering a phrase from “A Nation at Risk,” an analysis of American schools that began

If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves. 

That was 1983, and there followed a number of curriculum reforms, but it was another decade before another call for educational reform hit the bull’s eye, stating “You cannot separate how a child learns from how a child lives.”

And we all shook our heads and started a few breakfast programs, but I still knew a school district with one guidance counselor for the entire K-12 district, while my own kids assured me that the counselors in their high school were under such pressure to get “good students” into four-year colleges that they had no time to deal with truancy, abuse, depression and other “bad student” issues.

Whatever their problems at home, a kid who isn’t college-bound can get tired of being a second-class citizen in his school and, by extension, his community, which in turn makes him prime fodder for the manipulators of talk radio and political exploitation.

We smart guys laughed over Firesign Theater’s joking motto, “Give the people a light and they’ll follow it anywhere,” but more cynical types followed that theory and found that it worked.


Mike Thompson (Creators) offers a humorous look at where we’ve set the bar.

We’ve allowed a family of grifters to exploit the White House for personal gain, starting with a comedy act in which they posed with a table of thick stacks of blank paper explaining how ethics would keep the family business separate.

And when Dear Leader ran out of relatives, he proposed a set of Cabinet and departmental appointments that sounded like something from the old late night Bizarro comedy sketches — a secretary of education who opposed public schools, environmental stewards who favored commercial exploitation and on and on.

All confirmed by a Senate that never met a conflict of interest they couldn’t overlook.


Lest we forget, that Senate, ostensibly still in GOP hands, has to confirm Biden’s cabinet choices and judges, which could prove problematic.

As JD Crowe (Alabama Media) points out, the good folks of Alabama just elected a popular football coach to the US Senate, whereupon he proclaimed the three branches of the federal government to be the House, the Senate and the Executive.

When we all know the three branches are Offense, Defense and Special Teams.

It’s not over. We haven’t even stopped digging.


As Rico Schacherl (Financial Week) points out, Trump has basically withdrawn from his duties as president — not that he was a workaholic to begin with — and spends his time tweeting self-serving lies and nonsense.

It all gets tagged as fake news by Twitter, but, of course, that only confirms the Deplorables’ paranoid certainty that the media is censoring the truth.


Kevin Siers (Charlotte Observer) points out that even sitting under your desk tweeting is an active part of undermining the next administration, and CNN reports being told by WH insiders that “their goal is to set so many fires that it will be hard for the Biden administration to put them all out,” paving the way for the GOP, and Trump, to retake the presidency in 2024.


Bill Day (Cagle) depicts Trump’s stalling and undermining as the act of a selfish child, and he’s not only on target but reminded me of a bit from “The Electric Company” that fits the bill better than it ought to.

Particularly since it seems Trump’s most ardent supporters seem to be the same folks who insist we should spank our children harder and more often.