Carpe Diem (KFS) inadvertently captures my mood. Or perhaps I’m just not the only one who feels there is way too much doom in doom-scrolling these days.
Three days after the invention of the wheel, somebody scrawled a picture on the cave wall of a man with that wheel just outside the doorway, and children representing the other tribal members yelling “Are we there yet?”
Down thousands of years, cartoonists have repeated the trope, because we are, by nature, impatient. Which is the very nicest possible way of putting it.
Bringing us to this
Juxtaposition of the Day
The conviction of Derek Chauvin is, as Lee Judge says, one small step, and with the number of people not only demanding to know if we’re there yet but furiously denying we’ve made any progress, it seems like a really bad idea for Justice to be keeping track of the score at the moment.
There’ll be time enough for counting when the dealings done.
We’ve got two factors at play:
Historical perspective reminds us that years passed between the murder of Emmett Till and the decision in Brown v the Board of Education and the integration of various Southern universities and the anti-busing demonstrations in South Boston and so forth and so on.
We need patience, but patience linked to continuous activism and pressure, because we gained a Black president since those days, but, as Darrin Bell drew it at the time, a lot of heroic lives went into making that happen.
And, yes, we’ve added a minority VP since, but we’re not there yet and, if you look at how long its been since Emancipation, it’s surely not enough.
We’re coming up on the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Riots or Tulsa Massacre or whatever you want to call it, and it never should have happened then and it shouldn’t have taken a century to acknowledge it now.
And, if you don’t know about that, you should go read Chelsea Saunders’ excellent history of that horrific event.
The reason you might not — probably don’t? — know about it is not a massive, racist conspiracy but the overall failure of our “Great Man” approach to history.
We celebrate great men and great moments and progress rather than the way our entire society has functioned and grown.
We learn that George Westinghouse invented the air brake and show the driving of the Golden Spike, but we don’t examine how the Transcontinental Railroad centralized production, populated the prairies and transformed average lives.
We teach history, rather, as manifest destiny, a tale of our own superior character.
In “Lies My Teacher Told Me,” James Loewen points out that we don’t have textbooks called “The Triumph of Chemistry,” but we teach history in just such a celebratory, glorious manner.
Everybody praised Loewen’s book, but that was 26 years ago and we still teach history the same tired way.
Anybody who isn’t rich and famous and powerful gets ignored.
As with most similar phenomena, that weighs most heavily on racial minorities and women, but the answer to this systemic racism/sexism isn’t just to elevate George Washington Carver or Eleanor Roosevelt to the same invalid pedestals, but to study nameless immigrants and factory workers and sharecroppers alongside those famous people.
Which is a nice discussion of historical perspective but doesn’t do a damn thing to solve our issues now.
Steve Sack, however, points out how Justice’s single scoring shot has already led to better things, and that second step can lead to a third, which can lead to a fourth.
As noted here recently, we must make sure Minnesota isn’t the only place under that microscope. We need to take a national, not regional, assessment of policing.
But there’s more, because 2022 is not far away.
Justice requires increasing progressive presence in the Senate, so Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema can’t hold their own party hostage.
Democrats must also hold the House, which includes being aware of ways GOP state legislatures are moving to combine gerrymandering, voter suppression and power-grabs in order to avoid majority rule.
And it means to stop obsessing over those scores in the Joel Pett cartoon, but, rather, remember the advice of Satchel Paige: “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.”
Granted, 100 years is too long, and 400 years is even longer.
But 100 days is a flash in the pan, a moment, barely a case of putting the car in gear and edging out of the driveway, yet here’s our second
Juxtaposition of the Day
Are we there yet?
It’s only been 100 days. You have to keep the pressure on, you have to make sure nobody thinks you’re no longer watching.
But, in the words of the president, “Come on, man.”
As Wanda Sykes said of our last (real) president, “He went to Harvard, not Hogwarts.”
Mostly, as the old organizers sang, back in the days when we still had unions, “Which side are you on?”
Case in point:
The President called a virtual summit of world leaders to talk climate change, and Dana Summers (Tribune) demands to know why we’re not there yet, and why we talk to cheaters.
Which isn’t surprising, because he’s rooting for Biden to fail, which means he’s ignoring what accomplishments were made.
It hardly matters whether accomplishments are ignored out of opposition or out of impatience, except that genuine impatience is a valuable, necessary tool.
It’s hard to imagine President Biden choosing to hold this summit or to center his economic agenda on climate change without the persistent pressure of a wide range of climate activists — young and old, in the US and around the world. In the past few years, they have doggedly and persuasively demanded that world leaders increase their ambition and follow through on climate plans.
And, despite Summers’ insistence that nothing happened, there were significant pledges from major nations, including China and Russia, plus, as Vox reports, the building of a government/business consortium dedicated to offering incentives to preserve the rainforests.
Are we there yet? Of course not.
It’s not about getting there. It’s about going there.
5 thoughts on “CSotD: Are we there yet?”
Showing Pete serenading Eleanor Roosevelt (among others) is a nice touch !
“It’s only been 3 weeks, let him unpack his socks at least.”
“It’s only been 100 days, so what if he hasn’t even tried yet, it’s early days.”
“It’s only been a year, and besides he’s got midterms to worry about.”
“He’s got to get re-elected, but he’ll ne free to try in his second term.”
“He lost the House, so what do you expect him to do? it’s not worth even bringing up.”
“He’s only got two years left, he’s a lame duck. Maybe the next president can try.”
“Kamala’s only been there for three weeks, let her unpack her socks at least.”
“You have to keep the pressure on, you have to make sure nobody thinks you’re no longer watching.”
Ok. But I’ve always felt that whatever follows the “but…” is the operative part of the passage.
You’d be surprised at how vicious long-time readers can become when their favorite anti-Trump cartoonist suddenly criticizes Biden. Just because of last week’s cartoon asking what happened to the Public Option, I wound up having to set up an email filter sending anything with the phrase “I’m unsubscribing” to junk Mail.
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