Archive for October, 2020

Democracy Is Never a Thing Done

Democracy Is Never a Thing Done

What can be said about this election that hasn’t already been said? It seems like it has all been covered, right? And with that there comes a temptation to slow down when we see the finish line. But now is not the time let up — we all gotta run through the tape and complete the race at full speed.

So if I couldn’t come up with something new, I decided to bring back the most appropriate “old.” I didn’t have anything memorized and ready in my back pocket. But I did have a notion and some half-remembered platitudes about democracy. It took me awhile, but I was able to piece together enough of this quote to find it whole and identify the source. (Thank you, Internet! You aren’t completely awful.)

It probably would have been a better cartoon with just the first two lines: Democracy is never a thing done. Democracy is always something that a nation must be doing.

But what follows is so poetic, I couldn’t not include it. After all, Mr. MacLeish fought in two world wars, was the first Librarian of Congress, and won three Pulitzers, so, yeah, best to go with the whole quote.

I hope you find inspiration. I hope you vote and stay engaged. I hope we all run through the tape.


I Can’t Wait for This to Be Over

I Can't Wait for This to Be Over

There is just so much going on. And to be keeping up on all the latest developments in the election and the pandemic feels very much like drinking from the proverbial fire hose. But then there’s the other news we should all be paying attention to as well. Just this week the story broke of a new report revealing that parents of 545 migrant children separated at the US border cannot be found. That is terrible. And tragic. And overwhelming.

In the face of such a deluge, it’s not unusual for my brain to go to someplace safe. Someplace that matters, but really doesn’t matter. Professional sports, for example. It was here I considered the current World Series where the Los Angeles Dodgers are taking on the Tampa Bay Rays. No matter who wins, a single city and its metropolitan area will get to celebrate its second championship within a month — the Los Angelas Lakers recently won the NBA title, and the Tampa Bay Lightening won the NHL title.

How is that remotely fair? Okay, so maybe LA has some real fans. I don’t like them, but they somewhat support their teams. But Tampa Freakin’ Bay? Those people aren’t fans! They don’t love their teams through thick and thin. I’d venture that the only locals who have any level of true appreciation are Michigan expats. And here we are suffering with our Tigers, Pistons, Red Wings, and (as always) Lions. Yep, not remotely fair.

But anyway, if I can let my head spin on that for just a little while, I might work up the courage to get back to what’s really important. 

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A Plot to Kidnap the Governor — Where Did That Come From?

A Plot to Kidnap the Governor — Where Did That Come From?

I’m at a loss for words this week. I mean, I can understand how a plot to kidnap a sitting governor could get started. People are passionate. We get ideas. We say crazy, stupid things.

What I don’t get is how the plan got far enough that the FBI had to step in. I’m guessing it has something to do with extreme ideology, easy access to weapons, and encouragement from Presidential tweets. But that doesn’t mean I understand it.


Mike Shirkey: Other Jobs

Mike Shirkey: Other Jobs

Last week I was watching a panel discussion on the current state of editorial cartooning via Zoom. One of my good friends, Angelo Lopez, was one the featured guests. Angelo draws for Philippine News Today, and so much of his work reflects issues related to the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, a murderous despot. As a consequence, Angelo tends to draw a lot of skulls. In the course of his presentation, Angelo casually remarked, “I’m tired of drawing skulls.” 

Is “I’m tired of drawing skulls” not the most quintessential 2020 thing you’ve ever heard?

I don’t have the skills (or patience) to render skulls the way Angelo does, but I am similarly tired — tired of drawing about preventable death, tired of dealing with leaders putting party and ideology over health, tired of opinion winning over sensible consideration of expert advice.

So after the Michigan Supreme Court issued a decision against Governor Whitmer’s executive orders aimed at limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey jumped immediately into the fray to (1) demand the Governor negotiate with the Legislature and then (2) assure everyone that he had no intention of negotiating with the Governor. Of course. And then he followed it up with his beliefs about the pandemic:

“Things, I don’t believe, are an emergency, nor do I believe they’re necessarily urgent, but they are important,” Shirkey told Crain’s Detroit Business. “So I think we’ve got the time to do that.” 

Ugh. I couldn’t not draw about that. Even if I’m tired of drawing these skulls.


We Have Met the Enemy and…You Know the Rest

We Have Met the Enemy and...You Know the Rest

Comedian Jim Gaffigan has a bit where he says, “I’m a vegetarian now. Well, not a strict vegetarian. I do eat beef and pork. And chicken.” 

I think that sums us up nicely, don’t you? Us Americans. Us Michiganders. We sometimes say one thing, and then can completely contradict ourselves in the next breath. Well, not everybody. But enough of us.

I was thinking about this while I was watching (suffering) the presidential debate earlier this week. What has brought us to this lowly point? Well, yes, absolutely, politicians in general deserve their fair share of blame for the current state of affairs. And the moneyed interests that buy and sell them. And the shortcomings, if not flaws, of our particular system of government. 

But ultimately, enough voters in enough states elected Donald Trump in 2016. So there he was, and here we are. As Pogo said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

Sure, we all can be hypocrites at times. We all have those tendencies to abandon certain principles in order to feed our id. But the thing about being an adult (and a good citizen) is that you try to control those tendencies instead of letting those tendencies control you. We’ll get to see how that plays out in this election.