Archive for July, 2019

A Brief History of Drinking Water Reassurances

A Brief History of Drinking Water Reassurances

It’s easier to draw an editorial cartoon when there’s a bad guy. A singular, easily identifiable, no question about it bad guy. And I must confess, this week I was looking for an easy way out. It’s summer! And as much as I love to draw cartoons, that’s an indoor game. I want to be outside — shooting hoops, catching fireflies, puttering about the yard — it doesn’t matter. The last few days in particular have been perfect for not doing actual work.

Alas, this is not a singular bad guy kind of topic. First of all, on the whole, the wide availability of safe drinking water throughout the United States has been a great success, and those responsible should be applauded. Of course for those who have been made sick, poisoned, or killed over the years, that doesn’t provide much solace.

But the second (and bigger) reason is that it’s quite a complicated topic. Conditions that introduced sewage, industrial waste, lead, and PFAS into drinking water over the years weren’t generally the work of pathological villains. It was more likely the result of ignorance or greed, but made worse (much worse) by denial and CYA. So despite my lazy aspirations, the cartoon isn’t about blaming a bad guy — it’s about recognizing the pattern that causes most of the damage.

Anyway, that’s enough analysis. I want to go outside.

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Teaching Justin Amash a Lesson

Teaching Justin Amash a Lesson

Show of hands — who has seen the Frank Capra movie from 1939, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington? Jimmy Stewart is Jefferson Smith, an idealistic young man who gets appointed as a United States Senator by a corrupt political machine and ends up fighting against it. Can you tell me who the hero was? Was it the weak governor who appointed Smith? Was it the crooked senior senator who leads Smith astray? Was it the rotten political boss who tries to ruin Smith?

Okay, whether you’ve seen it or not, the answer is obviously Smith. (The title kinda gives it away.) But if you live in West Michigan like I do, you might think it was the other guys. Justin Amash, the US House Representative from Grand Rapids declared his independence from the Republican party. On Independence Day. In Republican-dominated West Michigan, that was not, um, received well.

Now Mr. Amash’s story may not be the same as Mr. Smith’s (starting with the fact that one is literally only a story), but there are parallels: the plucky individual staring down the political machine, standing up for his beliefs, actually reading stuff like the Constitution and the Mueller Report to know what’s in them.

The big difference, though, is that Mr. Amash’s story isn’t over. It’s just beginning. So whether he ends up the hero depends on what he does next.

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Celebrating Fourth of July

Celebrating Fourth of July

Is it un-American to draw an Independence Day cartoon highlighting flaws about America? That’s for readers to decide. But I will defer to USA soccer player Megan Rapinoe who was asked this week about what she would say to those who consider her actions un-American:

“I think I stand for honesty and for truth and for wanting to have the conversation. Looking at the country honestly and saying, ‘Yes, we are a great country, and there are many things that are so amazing, and I feel very fortunate to be in this country.’ I would never be able to do this in a lot of other places. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get better. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t always thrive to be better.”

World Cup Finals Sunday at 11:00AM. Go team USA!

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