This Makes Sense… I Can’t Work with This!…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, September 22, 2008

These days there is so much low-hanging fruit for editorial cartoon ideas, what with the election, the financial meltdown, the bumbling Congress, etc. This week’s plum that I couldn’t quite get to: Certain Republican Representatives from Michigan posturing wildly on the bailout package, voting against it and claiming it would take us on a ride to downtown socialism — but then within days all quietly voting in favor of a bailout for the Big Three auto companies. This is their free market capitalism? Really? But so it goes.

The comic above was kind of a reflection on, well, there are actually good things going on, too. Recently, business leaders in West Michigan organized a policy conference to not only discuss the economic future of the region but also to try to do something with it. Richard DeVos gave a keynote speech that was stunning in its clarity. He basically said, “Don’t stand around expecting somebody else to come here and save us. The people of West Michigan need take responsibility.” He was calling people out, challenging them to open discussions and develop relationships, trying to move things forward.

It’s true that I have had some misgivings with Richard DeVos and have questioned his judgment in previous comics, and I was somewhat let down that the Conference ended up rating “eliminating the Michigan business tax” and “turning us into a right-to-work state” as their top goals. But I think — and this is an odd thing for an editorial cartoonist to say — that sometimes it’s okay to acknowledge the positive. As another example, there were moments in last night’s vice presidential debate when my intestines didn’t actively hurt. There, that was positive….

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