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CSotD: Days of Decision

If you follow any cartoonists on social media, you’ve probably already seen Ann Telnaes’ interactive analysis of the January 6 insurrection, because her colleagues have been praising and forwarding it since she unveiled it yesterday.

That’s unusual, not because of professional competition but simply because cartoonists tend to sit back and watch the market rather than stepping up to comment publicly on each other’s work.

However, this is an unusual piece and their admiration overwhelms their normal reticence.

 

The piece, titled “Insurrectionists Roll Call,” is a large portrait of the suspects in the attempted coup, which, as you scroll past them, identifies each and explains their role in the attempt to overturn the election.

It’s not only brilliant work — painstakingly crafted in partnership with the Post’s content director and a young, talented coder — but a good primer for tomorrow’s one-year anniversary and a backgrounder for whatever Attorney General Garland has to say today at 2:30 Eastern and whatever the President says in tomorrow’s address to the nation.

The piece is behind the Washington Post paywall, but I think this link will take you there, and, if not, they’re still offering one-year subscriptions at a true bargain rate and the paper is worth following anyway, though far moreso this morning.

 

Telnaes may be the most ambitious cartoon-chronicler of the attempted coup, but she’s not the only one, and Steve Sack offers his own analysis, emphasizing the near-unanimous agreement among Republicans that nobody was to blame because nothing happened.

 

Which, as Randy Bish points out, requires them to either forget or to lie about their own statements following the riot, during which they were literally fleeing for their lives and pleading with Dear Leader to stop the violent marauders, and to pretend, now, that they believe the intruders were peaceful tourists, who were simply there to gaze at the statues, enjoy the beautiful architecture, smash windows, assault police officers, crap on the floor, vandalize offices, steal souvenirs, and hang Mike Pence.

 

As Pat Bagley explains, Blue Lives Matter to conservatives, but party loyalty matters more, and Amanda Carpenter has a good breakdown on that over at the Bulwark.

Nice political career you got here; it would be a shame if something was to happen to it.

There is the potential for dark humor in this breakdown of patriotism, and Clay Bennett (CTFP) playfully lays out the difference between commemorating the attempted coup and celebrating it, and who is doing which.

 

While Don Langren substitutes sarcasm for humor, skipping over the burning of the White House during the War of 1812 — the last time our nation’s capital was attacked — and going straight for the comparison to our country’s first and most famous traitor.

You can nitpick the history — The hero of Saratoga had, after all, left a leg on the battlefield, rather than pleading heel spurs to avoid service — but traitors are traitors and there are even a handful of veterans among those hoping to establish a totalitarian government in place of American democracy.

 

It’s not clear what Garland will say this afternoon, but Lee Judge (KFS) dismisses the Department of Justice’s proud press release noting the arrests of 725 insurrectionists thus far, so long as their leader walks free.

Garland is not expected to discuss specifics, but he’d better indicate that something is happening, because too much caution can make you seem an enabler, if not an actual accomplice.

 

And Steve Brodner takes what we know the authorities know in order to portray Dear Leader as the sort of wannabe tinpot dictator who would take his cues from a rightwing authoritarian like Hungary’s Viktor Orbán.

 

Meanwhile, in New York State, Attorney General Letitia James has subpoenaed Trump and the Trumplings, not over their attempt to set up a dictatorship in Washington but over their theft, graft and fraud within her state.

Bill Bramhall draws the obvious parallel with Al Capone, who was brought down not by the authorities breaking through the omerta of the Casa Nostra but by their delving into his corrupt finances.

 

It’s a topic that has come up before, and I put together this meme back when investigators first began rooting around in the farcical “blind trust” through which the Trump kids raked in profits from the Inaugural Ball and bogus charities, while the old man made money renting rooms and golf carts at Mar-A-Lago to his security detail.

It should be pointed out that the elevator scene in “The Untouchables” had no parallel in real life and that Capone was simply tried, convicted and sent to jail, where he sat until the ravages of syphilis had finished what Eliot Ness could not accomplish.

We are, however, playing for bigger stakes this time around, and, whatever Merrick Garland has to say and whatever his Department of Justice chooses to do, the whole world is watching, and you don’t need Steven King to frighten you with fiction if, instead, you read this pessimistic but well-based, in-depth analysis of things as seen by an expert writing for the Toronto Globe & Mail.

It’s not a partisan issue for Americans to bicker over. It’s a matter of world peace and global security.

 

And, if we allow it to touch off a civil war, it won’t be Johnny Reb and Billy Yank facing off across a field.

The Civil War, in which 750,000 died, was centralized between two distinct areas of the country.

 

The traitors don’t all live in one region this time around, they don’t have anything approaching a coherent set of goals, and the fighting won’t be contained to specific battlefields if it breaks out again.

For the parallel, you’ll need to reach back just before the rise of Capone, to the decentralized mayhem of the post WWI era when, as a British motto put it, a bayonet was defined as a weapon with a working man on each end.

God help those caught in the middle.

And God forgive those who did nothing.

 

Community Comments

#1 Wiley Miller
January/5/2022
@ 8:41 am

What Ann Telnaes has done here is nothing short of setting a standard of excellence in editorial cartooning. Obviously, it’s not something that can be done on a regular basis because of the amount of work it entails, requiring a team to put it together, but it’s a piece that now stands alone above all others. To say, “Well done”, is a monumental understatement…and I look forward to another such piece sometime in the future.

And the Washington Post should be promoting the hell out of it.

#2 Michael Dooley
January/5/2022
@ 8:12 pm

fingers crossed that Ann’s magnificent “Insurrection” will develop into an online video at some point. preferably soon.

#3 Richard Weaver
January/8/2022
@ 8:51 pm

The amount of evidence, visual and documentary, is astounding. We have videos, audio recordings, texts/emails and public records in their own words of the crimes committed against our country. There are over 60 court cases presided over by judges and jurisdictions of all parties. We have audits and affidavits even from the partisan hack-jobs themselves that attest to the fact: There was no ‘steal’ and the vote was not rigged, at least not by the winners of the election. Yet none of this has moved the True Believers an inch towards the truth. Why? because none of those people ever see any of it. They have a set of sources that are exclusive to their point of view and see none of what the rest of the world sees.
Until that bubble is broken, until information is allowed to seep into that dark cave of alternative factoids, there is a good chance that the USofA will have another violent civil war.

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