CSotD: Campaigning on Cruelty

Several cartoonists have commented on the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony, in which the parents of murdered Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick — and some other officers’ and their families — accepted the medal, shook Sen. Charles Schumer’s hand, then walked past Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy.

IMHO, John Deering got it best.

Ken Sicknick, Brian’s brother, explained the snub:

(T)hey came out right away and condemned what happened on January 6th, and whatever hold that [Donald] Trump has on them, they’ve backstepped, they’ve danced. They won’t admit to wrongdoing, not necessarily them themselves, but of Trump, of the rioters. People like Louie Gohmert, who presented an American flag that was flown over the Capitol to a January 6th rioter and told them they were a patriot, it’s disgusting. It takes away everything my brother has done.

There are many ways to capture that sense of betrayal, but bloody hands is the simplest and, in this case, the most eloquent.


Pedro X. Molina (Counterpoint) also takes on a well-covered cartooning topic in Trump’s declaration that we should terminate the Constitution and overturn the 2020 election, but he brings in Hunter Biden’s laptop, with the Republican elephant explaining which he feels is more important.

Observers have rightly compared Hunter Biden’s laptop to Hillary Clinton’s emails, because it, too, is a distraction with no real substance, a way to stir up the masses without addressing any genuine issues.

Nothing has come from the laptop beyond a drug addict boasting about great plans that never came to pass, while Clinton sat for hours of Congressional investigation, never once taking the Fifth.

In her case, the fact that their inquiry was utterly fruitless didn’t stop them from proclaiming her guilt and, now, they plan investigations of the laptop despite it having revealed nothing except bragging and dick pics.

And at least Clinton was Secretary of State and a presidential candidate. Hunter Biden is no more relevant than Donald Nixon or Billy Carter or Roger Clinton, but, while those presidential relatives had only brief moments in the political spotlight, cruelty is now a major political strategy.

Not on both sides, however. While Republican operatives are flogging Hunter Biden in the public square, the odd behavior of Chris Christie’s niece was reported, then quickly dropped, with people who dislike Christie saying it never should have been covered, while those who despise Ted Cruz have been quick on social media to declare his daughter’s personal trials off limits.

They don’t “both do it.”

Criticism of the Trump children has been about their involvement, and their apparent profiteering, in White House politics, which is relevant. What Rush Limbaugh thought of 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton’s looks was not.

But here we are.


And if heartlessly attacking the children and relatives of public figures were not enough, the hatemongers are, as Paul Berge notes, turning their bigotry on transgender children.

This quibble: I wish Berge hadn’t given the kid pink hair, since the transgender kids I know look very mainstream and don’t show any signs of being hip. They’re just kids who discovered their gender dysphoria and are making corrections for it.


And it’s not as if cartoonists like Chip Bok (Counterpoint) needed to play the queerbashing card in order to make ignorant, hateful, vulgar jokes at their expense, though his reference to the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision does offer a backhanded slap at homosexuals and lesbians as well as transgender people.

While Mike Lester (AMS) has taken several swipes recently at cross-dressers and at those who would normalize the LGTBQ+ community.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(David Horsey)

(Adam Zyglis)

But the old targets still exist, and while Horsey bemoans the depth of anti-Semitism in our society, Zyglis notes how hatred is being weaponized, not simply by a former president who dines with Nazis, but with a party divided over whether they should criticize him for it or join him in pretending he didn’t know and that it doesn’t matter.

Not divided in half, mind you. Their problem is that, while the 2022 midterms were a major disappointment for the party, they only lost many of their failures by a percent or two, and only won many of their victories by the same small margin.

They surely must fear how those margins would shift if they made a serious effort to distance themselves from bigots, crackpots, neo-nazis and people who hate groomers but are upset over not getting to gaze upon Hunter Biden’s penis.

It’s nothing new, as Bill Moyers noted in this 1988 memoir about working with Lyndon Johnson (h/t to Snopes):

What is crucial is that, while the quote itself is often repeated, the context makes it clear that LBJ was not condoning the tactic, but, rather making a practical observation.

The article (which didn’t offer a “gift” option, but give it a try) goes on to discuss the lengths to which Johnson went to correct his early upbringing and assumptions, not just about race but about poverty and other issues of fairness.

Republican hardliners like calling themselves the “Party of Lincoln” and pointing out how the Democrats were once champions of Jim Crow, but Moyers’ article outlines the way the party — which had changed, starting with FDR and Truman — culminated that transformation in Johnson.

I haven’t heard many Republicans bragging about how they’ve rushed to fill the vacuum, but it’s not like they need to say it out loud.


At least it’s not just us, though I’m not sure how comforting that ought to be. But Cathy Wilcox offers this look at absurd promises in Australia and they sure seem a lot like our own.

Is that star truly unreachable?


Perhaps not everywhere. Yesterday, social media was flooded with replicas of Time Magazine’s cover, proclaiming Vlodomir Zelinskyy their “Person of the Year, which prompted this quick, spot-on response from Bart Van Leeuwen (Cartoon Movement).

It won’t please Putin’s lapdogs in this country, who are hoping to withdraw aid and let their hero start reconstructing the Soviet Union one horrific war crime at a time, but, then, we’ve got 51 Senators and a President with a veto pen, and a shot at sweeping out the traitors, the fearmongers and the bigots in 2024.

Without so much as a handshake.


Operation Respect – Creating Compassionate, Safe, Respectful Environments

8 thoughts on “CSotD: Campaigning on Cruelty

  1. Thanks for including me today, Mike!

    As for my transgender character’s hair, from what I see, dyed hair has become fairly normative these days. I had determined early on that their hair would be either pink or blue, purely as an artistic decision to echo the colors of their t-shirt. I spent more time debating whether to draw them some race other than white.

  2. Interesting comments and drawings on LGBT “normalization”. As a conservative Southerner I dont have a problem with drag shows for adults. Dressing up as a stripper and performing before consenting adults should be allowed in our society as a first amendment right of expression. But it could be prohibited to certain audiences or restricted, just as Nazi demonstrations are in some towns, by public safety ordinances or other democratically enacted restrictions. Nudity is allowed on the streets of Key West, but not in most American towns.
    What I believe is in bad taste is when such bizarre displays are directly intended for young children who have no choice in what they might see in a public place. Similarly, Lizzo playing the flute in a thong, or black children dressed up in KKK outfits (or paid to attend mango mussolini rallies). Such types of aggressive promotion of a political or personal viewpoint I find offensive, although I would not seek to have them banned, as Desanctimonous has directed dubious laws about. . The problem is that the tail is wagging the dog in America. Many of the stories on media today emphasize lifestyles which are anathema to the majority of americans. I am growing fed up with the endless flood of stories about minorities, gays, women fighting male tyranny, animal-rights activists, jocks with foundations, billionaires with foundations, and people with rings in their lips and noses. Politicians are galvanizing the disgust of average folks like me by leveraging social issues that really shouldn’t matter in determining our voting preferences. The idiotic responses on both sides will continue until someone begins to demonstrate some common sense and discretion. Where did you go Jack Valenti? Our nation turns its anguished eyes to you….

  3. I agree with Paul. As a father of two teenagers it is really common to see lots of different colored hair. My son’s girlfriend has had 4 different colors this year

  4. My two middle school aged grandsons have black hair with, at various times, large patches of green, blue, purple, red, or blonde and other colors to be determined in the future. Luckily for them, their grandmother owns a hair salon.

  5. Well aware that odd hair color is normalized, which is why I called it a “quibble” and not a solid objection. I just thought it brought in a distraction, not a disqualification.

    And Charles, the exhaustive list of all the many people whom you object to seems like pretty stark evidence that you are not “average folks.” Share the stage — it’s a big country.

  6. Many of the stories on media today emphasize lifestyles which are anathema to the majority of americans.[sic]

    Yep. And it all began with Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

  7. It wasn’t only the parents none of the capitol police would shake their hands either!

  8. Good ole Chip Bok. – A serious case of…envy. But it’s hard to fight a man who buys his ink by the barrel.

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