CSotD: Judge mental

Political cartoons are supposed to offer political opinions, and Steve Kelley (Creators) is seldom shy about taking a partisan view. In this case, he isn’t all that far off in suggesting that a lot of people seem to think the various Republicans charged with crimes — one assumes he means the Jan 6 crowd — are guilty.

This despite the fact that in announcing the indictments in his case, Jack Smith included a caution that in our country people are presumed innocent, and that similar disclaimers have been made in several other such statements. So, obviously, Kelley is speaking of public perception and not of any official position.

And add this to the mix: There are people who watched the Jan 6 Committee hearings and people who did not, and those who did got to hear a great deal of sworn testimony that may have given them the impression that a variety of Republican figures were at best complicit in the events of that day if not directly responsible for inciting them.

And there are people who ignored the hearings, or heard only the Fox/Newsmax coverage of them, and who continue to believe that the rioters were merely tourists and, aside from smashing windows, assaulting officers, threatening to murder congressional figures and crapping on the floor, did nothing that normal tourists don’t do in the course of visiting our nation’s Capitol.

In the words of that other Charlie Brown, “Why’s everybody always picking on me?”

Anyway, I can’t help but wonder if that African-American kid in Kelley’s cartoon is adding a silent “or Black” to his classmate’s evaluation of those who are judged guilty without trials.

Which by the way is a good reason to visit Paul Berge’s blog. He currently has a round-up of cartoons that followed the 1921 Tulsa massacre in which white mobs descended upon the Black residents of that city with deadly and horrific results.

Critics are correct that the event should be part of standard history, as part of a study of the racial violence that foiled Reconstruction. It was not a minor moment and it does fit the pattern that has given us the toxic fiction of the Lost Cause, not to mention all the commemorative statues erected at more or less that same time celebrating the defenders of slavery.

However, Berge’s compilation makes an important point as well, which is that there was genuine revulsion against the Klan and against the hatred and violence of that shocking murder spree. If you’re going to stop pretending it didn’t happen, you should at least concede that it didn’t happen in a vacuum and that the nation did not entirely shrug it off.

Though you are permitted to remain horrified that the revulsion didn’t go deeper or have more significant immediate after-effects.

History is seldom as simple, linear and one-dimensional as seen in textbooks, and the overall response to lynchings and mass murder was double-pronged if not immediate.

On one hand, Black war veterans had been to France, where people of African heritage were not required to shuck and jive in order to survive and returned with a sense of pride that led to a great number of murders for being “uppity.”

Some twenty years later, a second world war threw white and black soldiers together despite continuing segregation, while African-American activists launched a post-war movement for civil rights that the broader population was willing to get behind.

It may have been slower than it should have been, but current events indicate it was also more superficial than it should have been.

The pigs and bigots were driven underground, but hardly exterminated. And that’s another thing we learn from history, over and over and over again.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Bill Bramhall

Clay Jones

We are currently in a cycle in which things that decent people don’t say aloud are being defiantly shouted from rooftops.

Bramhall offers a general metaphorical view, Jones is more specific in tying it into cult behavior, as he explains in his essay, though his cartoon expresses it without need for elaboration.

Jones isn’t far off: It feels as if the difference between the Scientologists and the MAGAts is that the Scientologists don’t have a major network drumming their beliefs into the heads of viewers, and that they keep their cultish behavior somewhat on the down-low rather than injecting it openly into the public sphere.

Whether the hero of a “Mission: Impossible” movie is a Scientologist, a Rotarian or a member of a suburban book club does not come across in the script, but the beliefs of the MAGAt hero are not only front and center but a major part of his appeal.

In 1989, nearly a quarter century ago and well before he had political aspirations, Donald Trump ran this full-page ad in four New York City newspapers, calling for the execution of the Central Park Five, young men who were later found innocent of the violent rape and beating of a jogger.

He now explains that he didn’t mean them specifically, but the timing and language of his ad belie his current denials: He was very clearly addressing their case and suggesting the equivalent of a lynching for the same reason that inspired nearly every lynching of an earlier day: “They” are coming to get “our” women.

Well, summoning a lynch mob should make them afraid. It should make all of us afraid.

Ironically, it is the majesty of the law that continues to offer hope, despite the MAGAts attempts to undercut it by claiming to “Back the Blue” while beating the crap out of police officers and shouting for their murder on the steps of the Capitol building.

Tell it to Harry Dunn. Tell it to Caroline Edwards. Tell it to Michael Fanone. Tell it to Aquilino Gonell. Tell it to Daniel Hodges.

What the heck: Tell it to the Black renters you and your father turned away from your apartments.

Ann Telnaes suggests that the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice, and that Giuliani is simply the first of Trump’s hangers-on to let loose and go into free fall.

But if the Klan could maintain their grip for more than half a century after Appomattox, there’s no reason to suspect the MAGAts would believe any Trump conviction, much less disperse once the various juries have made their judgments.

Beware not just the Hydra, but his teeth.

13 thoughts on “CSotD: Judge mental

  1. I appreciate today’s thoughtful discussion of a serious topic. But I have to admit, when I got here, I thought I might see a Juxtaposition of the Day featuring “Luann” and “Barney and Clyde.”

  2. Remind me again who was chanting “LOCK HER UP!” back in 2016?

    Innocent until proven guilty only applies to a court of law, not the court of public opinion.

  3. The whining about right wingers being persecuted is pretty rich coming from a cartoonist who got his current job after a liberal cartoonist got fired.

    1. Kelley was hired to replace a cartoonist judged too liberal. Hartman, like Kelley, is conservative. He may have been hired to work freelance in place of Kelley, who was on staff, but the move does not change the number of conservative cartoonists.

  4. Since maligning hoaxes failed to derail the Make America Great Again movement, it appears the “tolerant” Left has chosen to embrace lawfare election interference as a last-ditch political strategy. Will be fascinating to see if ’47’ reciprocates.

    1. Several accusations here, but offered mostly as slogans, not actual examples. Name an example of election interference which has been examined and proven (A) true and (B) of any meaningful substance.

      1. A couple off the top of my head are Russian collusion and the Hunter laptop being Russian disinformation…all election interference hoaxes that now even the legacy media begrudgingly acknowledge. A credible reference concerning the most recent example is lifelong democrat and respected Constitutional Law Professor, Alan Dershowitz’s best seller ‘Get Trump’ where he states this valid point concerning politically motivated indictments: “On account of today’s fears, ‘Get Trumpers’ ignore the implications for tomorrow of their anti-libertarian actions. They believe that because Trump is a scoundrel, or worse, he must be stopped at all costs. The Constitution and civil liberties be damned because they are merely technical barriers to the more important goal of ridding our nation of the influence of Trump.”

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