CSotD: It’s not even past

Oddly enough, I had just been thinking about the term “grasping at straws” before I saw this Ed Hall (Ind) cartoon.

Technically, the straws should be floating on the surface, the expression meaning that a drowning man will look for even the most futile support, but I like Hall’s shower of useless efforts and it certainly conveys the concept.

And the attempt to get the Supreme Court to overturn other states’ election returns was indeed a useless, pointless, vacuous effort to remain afloat.

At least, so said every attorney who pondered it for more than 12 seconds, with the concurrence of seven of nine Supreme Court Justices, the other two of whom said they’d have agreed to listen and then would have turned it down.


Matt Wuerker (Politico) suggests that the effort is over, but, much as I generally admire his work, this is only true in a limited, immediate sense. Trump is running out of ways to prevent Biden from taking office, yes.

But I saw a Rolling Stone article yesterday headlined “Trump’s Gone, So What’s Next for the Democrats?” and my response was that it’s like saying “We’ve discovered a vaccine, so the pandemic is over.”

Trump isn’t gone. He may have run out of quasi-legal gambits, but he’s far from gone, because his loyalists — including a huge chunk of the Republican Party — insist that the Supreme Court was wrong, that the election results were bogus, that Trump won and is being cheated of his victory by a massive plot by everyone in the country except them.


Darrin Bell (KFS)‘s cartoon prompts me to defend the Confederacy in that, while Lincoln had not vowed to end slavery if elected, they were not lunatics to anticipate it happening.

Which is a pretty weak defense, but it’s more than can be said for the current crop of hardline rejectionists, and, while Bell mocks them for their foolish stubbornness, it seems very likely that we’ll see some serious violence from within their ranks, as well as an overall refusal to be loyal to the Constitution or the expressed will of the people.

Faulkner famously wrote “The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past,” and, while we won’t likely be going back to Jim Crow, the foundation of Trump rejectionism includes nativism, racism and a rejection of non-evangelical religions.

In fact, as Trump stumbles out the door, he’s killing black folks and changing the law so that employers can claim religious scruples for refusing to hire people who offend their personal values, as long as they insist those values underlie their business.


Pia Guerra (Nib) offers a cartoon that qualifies as “gallows humor” though we generally use a different form of execution.

And she’s not making much up: One of the next to die is Lisa Montgomery, who would certainly seem insane if she came from a wealthier family.

Whatever the value of these particular human lives, the rush to kill them before Biden takes over the White House is evidence of a divide in this country that goes well beyond whether the president should own a dog or two.

And is more involved in the issue of whether federal contractors are required to hire homosexuals.

Granted, this time around, we’re going to skip Robert E. Lee and all that battlefield stuff and go straight to the Lost Cause reign of terror, though the head of the Texas GOP is prepared to make a more formal war of it.

“Believing in the Constitution” meaning rejecting states’ rights and the authority of the Supreme Court, of course.


Juxtaposition of Old Movies

(“A Face in the Crowd” – 1957)


(“Invasion of the Body Snatchers” – 1956)

A lot of people have been referencing Budd Schulberg and Elia Kazan’s “A Face in the Crowd” as a parallel to Trumpism, but I don’t see it.

Andy Griffith’s character is a con man and a phony, and his enthusiastic fans are willing not only to follow him anywhere but to forgive his personal flaws — so far, so good — until an open microphone allows them to hear what he really thinks of them.

At which point the analogy falls apart.

Kazan had great faith in the good sense of the people, which is why he justified his own testimony before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee with “On the Waterfront,” in which a brave dockworker stands up to a corrupt union, and that faith in common sense is why, in “Face in the Crowd,” the people immediately recognize that they’ve been had and turn away from Lonesome Rhodes.

But think: If anyone were going to wise up and reject Donald Trump, we wouldn’t be parsing over the results of last month’s election.

No, the parallel is with “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” marketed as a horror film but coming out of the same McCarthy era and cautioning of toxic conformity. As noted in that linked article, the studio reshot the ending to make the movie less pessimistic, but the crucial element remains that, even when awakened to the takeover of citizens by the alien pods, both the people and the authorities welcomed the invasion.

The author said there was no political subtext intended, only a message about conformity, but admitted that the connection to McCarthy was, at the time, “inescapable.”

As is the connection to Trumpism today.


Nick Anderson (WPWG) might well agree that it is, after all, only the pod people who believe Antifa is an actual, formal organization and that most of the demonstrators in Portland and Kenosha were violent and destructive, while applauding the anti-American work of the would-be ballot snatchers.


And Mike Luckovich (AJC) decries the loss of our long-held spirit of patriotic sacrifice, which seems also to be a result of a four-year conversion to pod priorities.

I am, of course, assuming the connections between pod people and those cartoons, but feel free to test my interpretation: Try to reason with the Trump supporters in your circle and see which movie you feel you’ve entered.

Now, in place of music, NPR reporters discuss their experiences covering the White House these past four years. (audio or transcript)


(Prickly City – UFS)

5 thoughts on “CSotD: It’s not even past

  1. I found it ironic that after crying about judicial overreach for years, the GOP is shocked that the conservative judges they seated actually practiced conservatism and ruled according to the letter of the law.

  2. Geez – much of the” basis” for The (1860)Confederacy was STATES RIGHTS ! Not so much now, huh ?

  3. The “Prickly City” is sweet and all, but I’m wondering what “old me” Mr. Elephant is referring to. The old “tea party tantrum-throwing” me? The “talk radio zealot” me? The “Newt Gingrich Contract on America” me?

  4. Ok, there are differences between Lonesome Rhodes and Donald Trump. Rhodes is a genuine member of the downtrodden class, and Trump is one of the trodders. They ARE both right-wing nut-jobs who used the media to gain power over blue-collar people, and then exploit them. The only difference between “A Face in the Crowd” and reality is that Kazan gives the average American too much credit for brains, and Trump hasn’t blown his mouth yet. He’s gone this far without doing it, so he probably won’t, but I’d LOVE to see him melt down, like Rhodes at the end.

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