Archive for November, 2016

Stop Not Aligning with Our Data!

Stop Not Aligning with Our Data!

Okay, all right. Just one more cartoon on national political affairs, and I’ll try to turn my attention back to more Michigan-based shenanigans. But I couldn’t let this one go — it’s been festering for some time.

There is not a whole lot to add because we’ve all just experienced it. For the entire election season Americans have been managed and categorized, sorted and labeled, diced and sliced by both major political parties.

We are not individual voters with actual thoughts and real concerns. We are herds of demographics who think in lock-step on singular issues.

Analyzing data may bear this out to be approximately true (sometimes), but only with broad stereotyping, and the effect is awful. We are driven to fall in line with what the data says we ought to be. It drains away both the importance of free-thinking and our empathy for others. A group of people who are black become “the blacks.” Rural white people become “hillbillies.” Women become something less than a “real” person.

I would think that the first political party to be truly authentic and make us feel less managed would have a real advantage. I know that’s asking a lot, but if I had a wish list, that would be near the top.

Now then, what’s all this about Nestle trying to sneak our drinking water out of Michigan?


Nobody Wants to Be a Sucker

Don't Wanna Be a Sucker

Here’s a theory that might help to unify us in these difficult times: What all Americans really, really hate is to be a sucker. Whatever else we disagree on — politics, ideology, economics, dessert toppings, the truth — a common bond is that nobody likes being a sucker.

I think that had an enormous effect on getting Trump elected. Consider this: Many white folks who felt disenfranchised (a fancy word for feeling like a sucker) voted. Many black folks who felt disenfranchised didn’t vote. A little amplification by the electoral college, and — boom! — the GOP wins.

And as I say in the cartoon (literally, that’s me), my inclination is to respect the results. I’m good American. I believe in our system of government. I want to play along. But based on Paul Ryan’s habit of continuously abandoning his moral convictions, Mitch McConnell’s unrelenting enthusiasm for not doing his job (until now), and Donald Trump’s entire life history, I have some reservations. I share with you, my fellow Americans, your same passion: I. Don’t. Want. To. Be. A. Sucker.

That makes sense, right? I mean, whether you are for or against the objectives of the Republican party, you can at least understand my desire to resist. Yes? No? Well, in any case, you decide. Because that’s another thing we Americans really, really hate: Being told what to think.

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Work Together? Umm…

Let's Work Together ...Bitch

Earlier this week I was pulling into work when a replay of a Renee Montagne interview with the great Mel Brooks came up on Michigan Radio. I took the the opportunity to sit in the car and listen to the entire thing. It was good timing all around. Like always, he made me laugh out loud. But he also gave me some perspective.

Brooks has made a brilliant career out of finding the humor in the absurdity, the cruelty, the hypocrisy of life. As such, I could quote a thousand Mel Brooks lines that capture the essence of the 2016 campaign. But what came to mind as I got out of the car and walked to the office was one of his more obscure efforts.

“The Twelve Chairs” was Brooks’ second movie (after “The Producers” and before “Blazing Saddles”). It is primarily about relentless human greed, and it’s hilarious. One of the best parts is the theme song written specifically for the film. If you don’t have time to dig for the film, I strongly encourage you to listen to the song:

It’s my theme for the impending Trump presidency. The title? “Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst.”

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It Was Nicer When They Used to Give Up on Us

It Was Nicer When They Gave Up on Us

Like most of us, I’ve pretty much run out of things to say about the election. Any thoughts — from salient points to outraged rants — have been expressed. I see many (cartoonists, commentators, Facebook posters) are settling now for “wow, what a messed up election season this has been” reflections, and that’s certainly understandable.

But I figured the most honest way for me to summarize would be to have one last go with Mr. Trump. He showed up again in Michigan this week, and I really, really, really tried to wrap my head around the idea of why I would consider voting for him.

A lyric from a song by the group Stars came to mind. (They’re Canadian, but it think it still applies.) It goes:

“When there is nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.”

To me that means that if you reach a point of total desperation, there is nothing left to do but to take a chance on anything else. If you feel that the current America is completely lost and hopeless, then, yes, why not cast your lot with a charismatic promiser-of-things like Donald Trump? It has romantic appeal that satisfies passionate desires. I get that.

I just don’t agree with it. First, I have faith in the American system. It can be aggravating and slow, untidy and unfair. Sometimes it feels broken. But that’s the way it has always been — we’ve been much more broken than this (1860, 1932, 1968) and not turned to demagoguery to find a way forward.

Second, he is simply not suited for the job. Emperor? Maybe. Generalissimo? Probably. But President of the United States? I don’t think so.

But in an election where feelings have won out over facts, it comes down to this: Trump is exactly the person my parents brought me up NOT to be. Why would I help make him my country’s leader?