Archive for September, 2020

Feeling Safe in Michigan?…

Feeling Safe in Michigan?...

As always, you are free to take the cartoon however you’d like. But I feel compelled to say that I did intend it in a spirit of camaraderie. It’s an incredibly stressful time — the fires, the floods, the ongoing pandemic. All whipped into a frenzy by the upcoming election. I’m with you. I feel you.

So when I read the headline this week “Rare mosquito-borne virus suspected in Michigan,” I thought, “Yeah, that seems about right.” I laughed and then went looking for something that would cheer me up.

I think most of us have certain go-tos (songs, videos, stories, etc.) that we have seen or heard over and over and yet they always bring the joy. One of mine is “Learn to Fly” by the Foo Fighters. Specifically, the video of the 1000 people playing the song back in 2015. A young man, Fabio Zaffagnini, wanted to have his favorite band come play a concert in his hometown of Cesena, Italy. So he organized an effort to have 1000 musicians play “Learn to Fly” in the hopes of attracting enough attention to make it happen. (Spoiler alert: It did.) The video just fills my heart.

A day or two later I happened to catch the recent story of Dave Grohl, founder of the Foo Fighters, had written a song for a 10 year-old girl, Nandi Bushell, who had recently beat him in a drum-off competition. Again, fully filled heart.

All that to say, there are a lot of truly terrible things going on right now. A little humor and a bit of joy can go a long way toward making it tolerable. 

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How Do You Feel About the President’s Lies?

How Do You Feel About the President's Lies?

Ugh! It happened AGAIN! These minute-by-minute news cycles are killing me. I had a complete cartoon all mapped out:

  • Frame 1 – Trump telling a bedtime story to a middle-aged Michigan guy, “…and then all the high-paying manufacturing jobs came back and the Michiganders lived happy ever after.” The guy smiles and says, “What a great story. It’s obviously not true, but I love hearing it.”
  • Frame 2 – he turns to the other side of the bed and says, “Okay Uncle Joe, now you tell it.” And Biden starts in with “Once upon a time…”

We Michiganders are (for the lack of a less politically charged name) suckers for a “I will make manufacturing like it used to be” story. You’d think we’d learn.

But as I went to draw it, the news broke from the new Bob Woodward book about President Trump knowing full well about the deadly seriousness of the coronavirus, yet purposely downplaying the risks, even rage tweeting at one point to “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” That sucked most of the oxygen out to the recent Biden and Trump visits to Michigan to sell their plans for bringing back high-paying manufacturing jobs. But as with every Infrastructure Week this administration ever launched, the featured story quickly dissipated.

The craziest thing is, by the time you are reading this, the story (and taped recordings) of the President of United States willfully letting a deadly disease spread could become a distant memory from many news cycles ago.

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Memorial Drive, Detroit COVID-19 Victims

Memorial Drive, Detroit COVID-19 Victims

If you have limited time, I would encourage you to quit reading now and just go look at some of the videos taken at the Memorial Drive event on Belle Isle on Monday. It was really quite poignant. It’s so difficult to conceptualize what large numbers of deaths actually means, and this seemed like an awfully effective way of making it meaningful.

That said, some have argued (callously but correctly) that all these people were going to die eventually anyway. Yes, sure, but I’m pretty sure these people didn’t want to go when they did. And certainly not in the way they did — mostly alone, many struggling for breath. 

Some have also argued (again, callously but correctly) that wearing a mask is a personal choice. And so is deciding whether to stop at stop signs. It is your choice, but it’s important for your personal safety and the safety of others that you do stop. Dr. Deborah Birx was in Michigan this week and had this to say:

“We’re asking for behavioral change and whenever you ask people to change their behavior, it needs constant reinforcement. But I can tell you every place that has instituted a statewide mask mandate, or a countywide mask mandate, we see the impact on the cases. So, it is not theoretical. Masks work, and they protect and prevent spread of the virus.”

We who have been blessed not to have lost a loved one during this pandemic can’t possibly know what the mourners felt driving that route on Belle Isle.  But we can honor their loss by doing our part to limit the spread of the virus.

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