CSotD: Binary Nation

At first glance, Rob Rogers (Ind)’s cartoon sparked a “Yes, I know,” response, because we’ve all watched the GOP spinelessly acquiesce to Dear Leader’s assault on the electoral system.

But his caption adds a disturbing element, at least for those of us who remember the days when we chose to believe that the mass of Germans secretly opposed the Third Reich.

It is borrowed from Daniel Goldhagen’s 1996 blockbuster, Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, which tore away the curtain, exposing the fact that plenty of Germans knew what was going on and that it was not being done simply by a small corps of fanatics.

This was not the first glimpse of reality we’d had: Art Spiegelman had published the first volume of Maus a decade earlier, while the trial of Klaus Barbie a few years before that had dispelled the notion that all of France had secretly belonged to the Resistance.

Is it fair to compare German complicity in the Holocaust to Republicans’ willingness to undermine the credibility of our governmental system?

Is it fair to look the other way?

It’s not a matter of whether Trump and his crew will be able to overturn the results of the 2020 elections. It’s clear they will not.

The issue, rather, is our nation’s faith in the system, and the immediate goal of keeping Dear Leader in the Oval Office pales next to that more fundamental matter.

Consider this

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Paul Fell – Artizans)


(Kevin Siers – Charlotte Observer)

On Bulwark Plus yesterday, Charlie Sykes offered this opening to his commentary:

It made me wonder, first, if the member who offered that advice had seen Siers’ cartoon, which appeared a few days ago, but it also made me nod in agreement and it made me less shocked by Paul Fells’ absurd-but-applicable cartoon.

There is plenty to laugh about, from Giuliani’s brown streak to Baghdad Barbie‘s pious refusal to answer questions from Kaitlyn Collins, whom she brands an “activist,” not to mention her blatant lie in saying that Trump had no transitional cooperation from Obama and her potentially-illegal dual role as press secretary and campaign worker.

At least Nixon was willing to display his self-serving nonsense himself and not hide behind his staff.

Note, by the way, not only the “I’m gonna kill you” glint in the smiling eyes of Richard Nixon as he realizes he’s been out-pointed, but how his audience was already, in 1974, divided between those who hated him and those who hated the media in general and Dan Rather specifically.

Again, Trump is not the disease but rather a symptom of how far the disease has spread into the body politic.


It is not simply national and it is not simply centered on Trump and his election follies.

A lot of political cartoons are local or regional, and they should be, but I often pass them over as, for that reason, not being of interest to my readership.

I don’t know what sparked this Joel Pett piece for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

It happened, however, to hit me because we have just had a back-and-forth on the topic here, which started with yard signs reading “Defend Not Defund” and pledging support to our local police force, which I didn’t know was under attack.

Sure enough, a Defund group popped up and, the other night, made a presentation to our city council asking for a 50% decrease in the police budget, the money to be directed towards prevention programs and other social support systems.

There was much to dismiss in the proposal, but there was much to consider, as well. It is, for instance, nonsensical to condemn traffic stops as bad — we can’t have people racing through the middle of town, after all — but it makes a great deal of sense to condemn how traffic fines and jail time can impact people on the edge of poverty, sometimes forcing them out of their jobs and saddling them with debts they cannot handle.

I don’t know how you discourage people from driving 60 in a school zone if you don’t nail them with a substantial fine, but I do think it’s something we need to talk about, and, fortunately, a fair number of our city councilors apparently agreed, dismissing the overall proposal but welcoming the opportunity to rethink things.

But the fact remains that “Defund the Police” is a really, really stupid slogan, and it’s equally stupid to suggest that any change in the system is a betrayal of the police force.

It’s also the case that, here, we seem to be able to sit down and talk it out. But we’re about one notch up from having Sheriff Taylor and Atticus Finch explaining things to us.

It’s not so easy to talk sense to a clown with a flamethrower, particularly when he has enlisted a major political party and the executive branch of the government to assist in his lunatic dishonesty.

If nothing else, we need, as Fells, Siers and Sykes all advise, to pay more attention to the flamethrower than to the clown.


For one thing, as Nick Anderson (Counterpoint) suggests, we’re about to leave a period of rampant spending — mostly on things that don’t benefit “regular folks” — and enter a period of belt-tightening designed to guard against helping “regular folks.”

Moscow Mitch has already sent his gang members home for the holidays with the House’s relief package undisturbed on his desk, and, barring a miracle in Georgia, things won’t change under President Biden.


The positive thing in our immediate future being the removal of the clown, who, as Ann Telnaes (WashPost) documents, has been willing to lie about almost everything for the past four years, but specifically the true danger that we have all been in and that he has worked so hard to deny and to ignore.

Granted, the Deplorables will continue to believe, and, granted, if Rob Rogers were wrong about “willing executioners,” that Blue Wave would have swept the villains away.

If God were a computer, undoubtedly he’d blow up the world, which would be the “answer.” — Phil Ochs

Ignore the “answers.”


2 thoughts on “CSotD: Binary Nation

  1. Jole Pett’s cartoon reminded me of my thought to place both BLM and Back The Badge yard signs out( haven’t done it) to suggest this is not the binary choice it’s often made to be. We all want police protection but we also want crisis intervention people sent to mental health crises ,not people with military gear. The Defund the Police motto was a gift to Republicans. Nuanced positions don’t fit well on bumper stickers

  2. I’ve always imagined the words in Tricky Dick’s mind at that moment being a grinding, “Youuuuuu son if a [expletive deleted]!!!” (respecting the rule of no swearing here)

    Though I know Rather wasn’t acting very professional there, I’ve always gotten a real kick out if the moment.

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