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First World Problems

First World Problems

You haven’t used one of your many streaming services for a while, and now they are making you log in again! The carafe at the cafe with your favorite coffee is empty, so you either have to wait three minutes or go with your second favorite! Your spouse needs the “good” car, so now you’re stuck with that abomination of a vehicle that doesn’t have heated seats!

Okay, so not having a candidate that you’re excited about voting for in the upcoming primary next week is not really on the same level of pettiness, by I do think it qualifies as a first-world problem. I, too, wish for a selection of more engaging choices.

Biden is an old-school politician, which has its merits, but definitely leaves a wanting for a more dynamic and (yeah, I’ll say it) younger choice.

Haley seems an opportunist without convictions — more interested in achieving the office than actually doing the job.

And Trump is an existential threat to our nation. Plus, you know, the living embodiment of the seven deadly sins.

But in the end, we are voting. So let’s vote, appreciate the opportunity, and do what we can to make the next election better.

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Those Other Also Not Racists

Those Other Also Not Racists

This week, State Representative Josh Schriver (R-Oxford) was reprimanded for promoting a racist conspiracy known as the Great Replacement. No need for me to give that conspiracy theory any more oxygen by explaining it here. It’s enough to know that it grows out of (and continues to be incubated by) the Neo-Nazi/Klu Klux Klan/Proud Boys groups among us.

You’d think we’d know enough from history that there’s nothing good down the hyper-nativist path. And yet, rallying to the nativist calls is often seen as the most patriotic thing we can do. For a country of immigrants, we sure have a particular disdain for immigrants.

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Nice not to Be Invisible, But…

Nice not to Be Invisible, But...

Aligning various demographic groups into voting blocks is a longstanding American electoral tradition. (Well, maybe not at the start — white, male landowners pretty much had the whole thing locked down in the early years.) But as immigrants arrived, enslaved people were freed, and things got generally more democratic, it became clear that people with shared characteristics often voted in similar ways.

Naturally, political parties and their political machines took note. Pollsters, too. And God knows pundits and talking heads are clear on the concept.

Being part of a voting block isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. Organizing as a group is a great way to ensure your voice is heard. Many Arab Americans in Michigan are displeased and horrified by the ongoing war in Gaza, and their leaders have taken steps to use their leverage as a significant demographic in a so called “swing state” to effect change from the Biden administration.

One of the downsides, though, is the aforementioned pundits and talking heads seizing upon this: “Southeast Michigan chock full for Arab Americans! Who knew?!” “Growing rift with White House likely to sink Biden reelection bid!” “Experts predict effect on 2028 election … and the 2024 NFL draft!”

It’s disheartening how quickly it goes from people’s real concerns to the gamification of those concerns.

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I Appreciate a Straight Shooter

I Appreciate a Straight Shooter

The middle panel is a direct quote from UAW President, Shawn Fain, in a speech he gave this week announcing the union’s endorsement of Joe Biden for U.S. President.

Fain has made quite a name for himself for being an authentic, often salty voice of the working class. He can be theatrical, but he also says what he means and doesn’t seem to suffer fools. I’ve also read similar things said in praise of Donald Trump (usually by Trump himself).

While the UAW endorsement is definitely a Michigan issue, I regret not having the time to do a cartoon on Governor Whitmer’s State of the State Address. It was simply too close to my deadline. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of time to work with the issues she presented.

But I regret that by next week it will no longer be timely to comment on her 1980s music and culture references. Alas. I’ll just need to find another excuse to draw big hair, pleated pants, and Miami Vice jackets.

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Some Weather We’ve Been Having Lately, eh?

Some Weather We've Been Having Lately, eh?

Okay, granted, winter did hit later than it usually does this year. And the weather we’ve experienced over the past week has been severe. But in the end, it is January, and this is Michigan, so it really isn’t that remarkable. And yet, that doesn’t stop all of us from persistently remarking, does it?

Still, if the alternative is election talk…

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Michigan’s Big Win

Michigan's Big Win

Did you stay up late on Monday to watch the game? I did. And my workday wakeup time is 4:45 a.m. Still, it was totally worth it.

Sure, the championship win was super nice. (And the Rose Bowl win in the semifinals over Alabama was even nicer!) But there were also some really compelling storylines. However you feel about the sign-stealing scandal, the Michigan football team did need to overcome some significant adversity — from its own conference and the NCAA, everybody’s least favorite bureaucracy (which is saying something).

And there were other, more traditionally feel-good storylines like running back Blake Corum coming back after blowing out his knee last year to score two touchdowns in the title game.

But I think on the whole, the best story was that the state of Michigan got a win. We don’t get many — especially over the past couple of decades. So even though it was college football (and all the baggage that comes with that), it’s gratifying to have “Michigan” and “the best” in the same headline.

Still, I have to admit, even as the confetti was falling, a part of me was thinking, “Oh Lord, those true-blue U of Mers are gonna be hard to live with after this.”

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Be Careful What You Wish For

Be Careful What You Wish For

Word on the street is that certain members of the Michigan Republican Party are aiming to oust their current chair, Kristina Karamo. They called a meeting to plan it. Karamo supporters say the meeting was not properly called. Karamo says she has no intentions of resigning. It will likely all end up in court.

This may not be the most Trumpian thing you’ve ever read, but it is pretty darn emblematic of the GOP in the Trump era — infighting, name-calling, legal threats, money issues, possible bankruptcy, blaming the “deep state” and “fake news” for problems you created.

Well, I suppose that when you elect a Trump protégé to lead your state party, you shouldn’t be surprised by the results. As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.

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Build a Wall

Build a Wall

After years of stagnant (at best) population growth, Michigan is scrambling for ways to keep Michiganders from moving out, especially young people.

Of course it’s ridiculous to think that building walls would be effective in keeping people in — but no more ridiculous than thinking a 1,954 mile wall along the Mexican border would be effective in keeping people out.

Instead of building barriers in 2024, perhaps we should focus on problem solving the source issues. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and here’s to a world with less walls in the new year!

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Why Do We Have Christmas?

Why Do We Have Christmas?

A typical holiday season juxtaposition for editorial cartoonists: the Holy Family as poor, desperate refugees and the current treatment of poor, desperate refugees by certain folks who worship the Holy Family. It’s kind of low hanging fruit, and I have to admit that’s where I started.

But there is so much more hypocrisy out there to choose from! So I looked further and was inspired by listening to “For Unto Us a Child Is Born” from Handel’s Messiah, which is often performed at Christmas time. The lyrics are from Isaiah 9:6:

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace

It’s the “prince of peace” that always sticks with me. I can’t think of a more perfect description of what a savior should be.

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Boy Is This Guy Gonna Be Disappointed

Boy Is This Guy Gonna Be Disappointed

It’s well within reason to expect those who tell you what they are against to also be able to tell you what they are for. I mean, if you’re upset about inflation or the border situation and somebody tells you to vote for them because they can fix it, they should be able to tell you how, right?

And yet, by my observation, Republican candidates (local, state, national) seem to be pretty good at identifying problems but lacking in actual plans and answers. It’s not like Democrats are great at this either. But they do seem to come up with functional legislation every once in while.

It’s pretty obvious why this is — it’s much safer to gin up support by railing against an issue than proposing a plan to solve it. Plans can be checked, analyzed, reviewed — and followed up with challenges and criticism. That’s no fun. Plus, I imagine it’s difficult to develop actual plans when there is likely a chorus of campaign advisors from your party telling you not to.

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