I’m not exactly on the brink of despair, but Too Much Coffee Man (AMS) is close enough, because I’m beyond the brink of disgust and, yes, very worried about the immediate future. Come to think of it, that may be the definition of “brink of despair,” since I’m not quite in despair yet.
However, I still believe in the power of mockery, if not to take down villains, at least to rally the troops who will then do the taking down. In any population, there is a large group of people content to sit and watch, and political success largely depends on motivating them to get off their butts and become involved.
Theoretically, Mike Smith (KFS) has it right, to the extent that, while Trump is a threat to democracy, democracy should also be a threat to him.
But it’s not, because democracy can easily be perverted by populism, playing to the worst instincts of people and motivating them to become involved out of selfishness and fear of the Other.
It’s reminiscent of the fable of the dog crossing a river with a bone and seeing his reflection in the water. Wanting that other dog’s bone, he barks and drops his bone into the water, losing both the imaginary bone he never had and the real one which he did.
There’s a reason the fable has lasted a few thousand years: It well describes a failure of human nature.
Matt Bors applies it specifically to Israel’s approach to dealing with the Palestinians, but it readily expands to far more nations and far more political situations. For example, in negotiations over our southern border, Mexico’s president suggested that, instead of focusing on ineffectual walls, we spend money making places in South and Central America more tolerable so that people won’t want to leave them.
It’s a sensible approach, even if you also build walls. But it goes against the principle of cementing your rule through stoking fear and prejudice.
As Matt Davies points out, the Freedom Caucus even rejects spending with which they agree, because their goal is not to solve the problem but to exploit it.
Fear of Brown People is their parallel to the dog who is furious that the other dog has a bone. It doesn’t matter, for instance, that MAGAts don’t want to pick vegetables or work in slaughterhouses or clean motel rooms themselves. If the choices were put in those terms, they might be open to improving how we handle work permits.
Instead, rightwing extremists are spreading false rumors that two bills currently under debate — one to translate ballots into other languages and another to make motor-voter registration more widespread — are Democratic plots to enroll scary brown illegal aliens as voters.
It is, of course, part of the white supremacist replacement theory which has crawled out from under its rock to become a main player in our democracy.
The mildly comforting thought being that Ben Jennings can recycle an old joke in order to make a point about Britain’s situation that suits our own.
I liked the version that was going around in the 1970s, about a man who went into a coma in the ’50s and woke up asking about the health of Dwight Eisenhower. Told that Ike was dead, he said, “Oh no! Now that SOB Nixon is president!”
It only needs a bit of updating to get a laugh, and it’s nice to know we’re not the only country in which such dark humor applies.
Though perhaps I feel that way because I met so many other people with cancer when I was under treatment myself.
“Worst segue of the year” is to point out that Christopher Weyant’s commentary on the upcoming New Hampshire primaries is based on a landmark that collapsed in 2003, which isn’t really like coming out of a coma after 25 years.
But I can rescue it by pointing out that we still feature the Old Man of the Mountain on our license plates and whatnot, just as Trump and his cohorts still promote long-crumbled politics from before the Civil Rights Movement.
As for Ron and Nikki making it to South Carolina — and still speaking of recycled gags — I got a laugh out of Matt Wuerker (Politico)‘s appraisal of the Iowa caucuses. There’s nothing wrong with using familiar jokes if you can put them in a context that works.
After all, political cartoonists are not college presidents: They don’t get fired for citing context.
But I think it’s about time for DeSantis to take a clue from Vivek Ramaswamy, hopefully with a little more dignity than shown either in this Nick Anderson cartoon or in Ramaswamy’s departure message, in which he praised the man he had sought to defeat and called upon Haley and DeSantis to do the same.
Somehow, as Anderson suggests, the GOP race appears to have been for vice-president, since only Christie acted as if he really wanted to replace Trump on the ballot, and even he didn’t behave as if he thought it might happen.
Hope springs eternal in the human heart, mind you, though I didn’t expect to see it springing in Gary Varvel (Counterpoint)‘s heart. He’s right that Iowa has a poor record for picking the eventual winner, but, then again, those were years in which there was more than one serious contender in the Republican race.
The most interesting part of this lineup being that in 2020, Iowans did pick the eventual nominee. Varvel appears to be admitting that Trump lost the general election that year, which I think can get you burned at the stake in some quarters.
Juxtaposition of the Day
In case you haven’t been following the ongoing soap opera in New York City, where Trump is on the verge of getting kicked out of the trial and his attorney drew a humiliating series of slaps on the wrist from the judge, loyalist Republicans are very close to being asked how much villainy in a candidate they will support.
And how much inconsistency they can tolerate, the quotes in this meme having been fact-checked.
But when did truth and consistency ever matter in the Trumposphere?
The challenge is not to convert the MAGAts — which is impossible — but to motivate the Fence-Sitters.