CSotD: Preparing the Excuses

There are enough cartoons about Trump falling asleep in court, and, while they say nothing about his guilt or innocence, they make a reasonable argument about his overall fitness for office.

From the earliest days of his administration, we heard about him coming to work in the late morning and being unwilling to sit through complex discussions. We even heard stories about his staff injecting his name into documents so he would read them.

If nothing else, falling asleep in court could be an argument against persistent rumors that he abuses Adderall, an amphetamine used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.

Here Pat Bagley makes a useful pun against the Republican bugaboo, “wokeness,” which means an awareness of the need for justice but is villainized as providing too much power to women and minorities. And, as Bagley suggests, elitists who stay awake in meetings.

It’s hardly a cartoon to take seriously, but, given the “war on woke,” it’s funny stuff, and, as said, it does suggest the former president’s unfitness for office.

But there is also an established joke with no real-world backing, a variation on the bandit chief’s declaration in Treasure of the Sierra Madre that goes “Facts? We don’t got no facts! We don’t got to show you no steenking facts!”

Dana Summers (Creators) repeats the depiction of Joe Biden, who jogs and rides a bicycle regularly, as a doddering old man, in contrast to his obese competitor who has been known to drive his golf cart onto the green rather than walk that short distance.

It’s been wonderfully effective, creating an ongoing distraction over Biden’s age rather than Trump’s bizarre verbal incoherence.

But here Summers depicts Trump in an orange jump suit, and if his argument truly is that we’re being asked to choose between a fading old gaffer and a crook, he’s framing things in an interesting new context.

However, he answers the question he raises by declaring the trial a fraud, intended to falsely convict Trump, whom he depicts snoozing on the defense table.

This leaves serious questions about what Summers believes about a fellow he apparently consider a dozing, framed criminal, but it does appear that the orange jumpsuit was unintentionally awarded.

Or something.

By contrast, Steve Kelley (Creators) comes out and declares the trial a partisan fraud before the first moment of testimony is in the books. It’s possible he believes defendants should, in fact, be permitted to intimidate witnesses and publicly attack judges, court workers and their families, or, as Trump’s people have argued, that a president could order the murder of his political rivals without being charged with a crime.

But it’s more likely that he’s trying to build a resistance among voters to the actual charges so that if, like OJ Simpson, Trump is found innocent despite the evidence, people will accept the verdict and vote for him in November.

Poisoning the voter pool is a more elaborate goal than poisoning the jury pool, but, on the other side of the aisle, Adam Zyglis is one of several cartoonists who either hasn’t figured out how jury selection works or is preparing an explanation for a possible acquittal.

As with Bagley’s cartoon, this is mostly a joke: We know that a “jury of his peers” doesn’t really mean a jury made up of criminals and liars, but it seems accidentally aligned with the MAGAt contention that the jury is being purposefully stacked with liberals who lie about their existing prejudices.

The notion that the jury, for one reason or another, will inevitably be tainted is preparation for a disappointing verdict that can be explained by corruption.

Another common view of jury selection is exemplified in this piece by Royston Robertson, who is British but works both in the UK and US, which, not coincidentally, share a legal system in which it is only necessary to be unbiased, not totally ignorant, in order to serve on a jury.

The many cartoons about various totally isolated, hence totally ignorant, potential jurors make the valid point that it’s not easy to find people who have not formed an opinion about Trump.

After all, American voters had to make some judgment about him in 2016 and 2020.

Joe Heller may come closer than anyone else to portraying the ideal juror, or at least the juror most likely to survive voir dire.

For my part, I’m not sure I’d want to sit in a jury room with an airhead who paid no attention to the world around her. The jury I sat on, in which we heard a charge of assault with a deadly weapon, was a collection of interesting, engaged people.

We couldn’t, obviously, discuss the case in our breaks during the trial, but the conversations we did have were worthwhile and there didn’t appear to be a dimwit in the group. Once we got to discussing a verdict, we were tightly focused.

The experience convinced me that we need to reform how poor people are defended, but it left me pleased with the validity of the jury system, OJ’s case being an exception that should have been foreseen during the selection process.

Which is hardly to say jury selection is an easy matter this time around, and I’m inclined to agree with Matt Davies (AMS) that it feels like a search for the theoretical.

But, as I write, seven jurors have been seated, and the most the Trump forces have been able to come up with is an absolute lie about the judge refusing to give Trump time off to attend Barron’s graduation, which is something he has not ruled on and, anyway, is an event scheduled for a day the court is not in session.

Though it does remind me of Joan Rivers’ joke about being named Beverly Hills Mother of the Year, in which they lined up the kids and you had to pick yours out.

She won by getting it right on the second try.

Your Homework Assignment

I see the bell is about to ring, so here, illustrated by John Darkow, is your assignment for tonight:

The Republicans deny favoring a national ban on abortion, but the Life at Conception Act has been before the Judiciary Committee for over a year, awaiting action.

Is your Representative among its 125 co-sponsors?

4 thoughts on “CSotD: Preparing the Excuses

  1. Regarding the ‘life at conception’ group, what about when a fetus dies in utero? Do they maintain that it is still a ‘living baby’? As I understand it, the Jewish tradition is that life begins when the newborn takes its first breath. I have read some accounts (and TV spots saying this actually happens) that the pregnant woman must continue to carry it ‘to term’. And, one woman I spoke with said if she were made pregnant by a rapist, she would wait until about 15 weeks and then have the doctor ‘deliver’ what some call an ‘unborn child’ knowing it couldn’t live on its own. Abortion should not be (and apparently is not) a casual decision by any woman. It is not as simple as the TV snews sound bites make it seem.

    And, I really like the Bagley ‘waging war on woke’ cartoon.

    1. I think even the most ardent pro-life advocate would agree that a something dead is indeed not alive.

    2. Re: a baby dying in utero, I think to the extent that the “lifers” think of the possibility it at all, it’s either an outcome that Jesus can magic away with sufficient prayer, or one that doctors (who are, after all, godless elites who don’t know everything and aren’t open to the possibility of miracles) can be wrong about with significant regularity. Remember the Super Bowl ad with Tim Tebow’s mom?

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