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CSotD: Watching the Sun Set

Pat Bagley borrows a well-known line from “1984” to point out the unspeakable lies being put forth by the Republicans, and, while he specifies his home-state Utah’s branch, it was the text from the Republican National Committee that classified trespassing, assaulting police officers, theft, vandalism and crapping on the floor as “legitimate political discourse.”

It’s appalling that they would say such a thing, but what is more frightening is that not only are they not scrambling to rake it back, but that, judging from comments on social media and comics sites, there are plenty of people who agree with them.

Which brings to mind a revelation I had in reading a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I had expected to see the way the Nazis were able to persuade people to go along with their takeover, and I wasn’t surprised by how Bonhoeffer tried to fight back without exposing himself to arrest and his church to closure. He was courageous and principled, but not a damn fool.

What blew my mind was discovering that, as the Germans swept through Poland, the extensive slaughter of POWs and unarmed civilians was not done by an elite corps of SS troops, but by ordinary soldiers.

This wasn’t several years into a long, hard war, but in the very opening months, and battle fatigue is no excuse. It was cold-blooded butchery and a prelude to the Holocaust that followed.

We haven’t gotten to that stage yet, but I don’t think we should be waiting until we do. It’s obvious that the Republicans are lining up their volunteers and preaching that violence in defense of party goals is acceptable and even admirable.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Michael de Adder)

(Bill Bramhall)

It’s good that de Adder and Bramhall speak out against the party purge, though I wish they’d included Adam Kinsinger among those being sent to the gulag.

Still, de Adder is correct that they punish those who dare speak truth, while Bramhall makes a more detailed comparison to the cult of personality which sprung up around Stalin and is now established around Trump, and how Stalin purged the dissidents who dared challenge him.

It’s not a matter of overreacting and it’s not a matter of exaggerating what the opposition is up to.

It’s a matter of anticipating what has always come next in these matters, and of reinforcing that bit of social media wisdom warning that, if you’re ever thought about what you would have done in Germany in the 1930s, you’re doing it now.

We’re about 10 months from the midterm elections, in case you need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Clay Bennett – CTFP)

(Jimmy Margulies – KFS)

 

(Patrick Chappatte)

While we wait for the midterms to signal our fate, we’re amusing ourselves to death with Beijing’s Winter Olympics.

I’m not much for cartoons based on the Olympic rings, but Bennett makes his point quietly and eloquently. We’ve become indifferent to Chinese-made products, despite decades of reports of the sweatshop conditions in their factories.

We’ve excused it by noting that what would be horrifically low wages here are quite good in other countries, but that line is easier to push in places like Bangladesh than in a major economy like China’s, and, more to the point, we’ve known about the genocidal treatment of Uighars for several years.

It hasn’t gotten any better, and, while we’re given little shopping choices when so many American companies employ this cheap labor, the fact is we’ve known all along where our cell phones and most of our clothing come from.

Here’s the bottom line: It’s very nice that people wore “Where is Peng Shuai?” T-shirts to the Australian Open, but, if you’re watching the Olympics and chattering about it on Facebook or Twitter, you’re supporting the country that disappeared her.

And televised interviews with the IOC President in which she assures him that she’s just fine, no problem, are, as Margulies puts it, simply a demonstration of the relative values of money and human rights in the much-vaunted Olympic ideal.

All of which would be highly theoretical, I suppose, if Xi and Putin had simply proclaimed the Olympics to be open and wonderful and fun for everyone.

Instead, they used the venue as an excuse to make a statement against NATO and the US and their efforts to avert war in the Ukraine.

Hardly in line with the alleged spirit of the event.

 

Mind you, according to Bob Gorrell (Creators), averting war is for sissies. Strong leaders take strong action.

No word on whether Gorrell has children of military age, but we ended the draft, so there’s no need for your friendly neighborhood doctor to write a letter about your son’s heel spurs or for you to pull strings in order to fulfill his intense desire to join the National Guard and keep the Viet Cong out of Indiana.

War is good business. Invest somebody else’s sons and daughters.

 

Whiplash of the Day

Still, you never know. Steve Kelley (Creators), normally a foe of anything proposed by Joe Biden, has, in the past week, dropped two cartoons about the bridge collapse in his hometown of Pittsburgh.

This — and particularly that first one — would seem to be supportive of the Infrastructure Bill that Biden managed to shepherd through a divided and hostile senate, unless Kelley believes such repairs should only be made with local taxes.

But it seems to fit the established pattern of some people only caring about things like HIV, fetal tissue research and gay marriage when those topics unexpectedly hit home.

 

Mind you, this was when Rick was still being a bitter, heartless jerk. What he remembers is that the occupation cost him his bar, and that Ilsa left him to rejoin her husband and become part of the Resistance.

Better to cite the real-life example of Josephine Baker, who not only stayed when the Germans invaded but was active in the French Underground and then, when the war was over, adopted orphans from around the world.

We could use a few more people whose heroism spans a lifetime and not just a moment, and centers around moral principles, not personal interest.

 

Community Comments

#1 Mary McNeil
February/5/2022
@ 5:03 pm

I agree that Kinzinger needs his share of recognition too. The fact that he is not running for re-election and Cheney is may have some influence on the cartoons you feature.

No other quibbles with an es[ecially insightful post tiday !

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