Tag Archives: political

The Ides of Trump

the ides of trump

I don’t think he’s interested in my message, but I do suspect that images of ladies in light bondage might get his attention.

So, technically, “the Ides” aren’t a negative thing, unless you are actually Julius Caesar and your so-called friends decide it’s as a good a time as any to put an end to your potential tyranny. Ides simply refers to a date in the middle month in the Roman calendar, sometimes the 13th and sometimes the 15th, depending on the month. But most people have the sense that it means something unlucky.

So, this is The Ides of Trump, the point being to break the world record for postcards sent to one person in a day, in order to present a visual scale of just how many people do not approve of the current president’s policies and actions in the first 50 days of his administration. You can still participate: just acquire a postcard, write a message explaining your disapproval, add the hashtag #theIdesofTrump and send it off to the White House today, March 15th.

I think the Sword of Damocles has probably been on my mind because the Girl requested I read her Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events. We recently finished book 3, wherein some of the action takes place on Damocles Dock, thus foreshadowing the inevitability that unfortunate events will come crashing down on the heads of the Baudelaire orphans.

And, in a more classical sense, the Sword of Damocles hangs over anyone in a position of power. Things can change. Things can change faster than you could imagine.

I had long stretches of time in my 20s and 30s when I could not afford healthcare. For most of my current relationship, I’ve been covered as The Man’s dependent, but since he’s gone into real estate, I require Medicaid. As a person with multiple chronic health conditions that require treatment in order to allow me to even attempt to participate in society, I am grateful for the ACA, and uncertain as to how I would begin to go about receiving care were my coverage to be destroyed.

Although I think there are a lot of important issues about which a rational person could choose to protest, this is the one that affects me most, and the one for which I thought of a little cartoon. There are actually many swords hanging over our heads: the ones that represent the pollution of air and water as the kleptocracy deregulates business; the ones that represent hate crimes against gay and transgendered people, and against people with dark skin or non-Christian spiritual beliefs; the ones that threaten freedom of speech and of the press; the ones that discriminate against immigrants, the very backbone of this nation and the force with which America was built; the ones that oppress women, and the general right of individuals to exist as individuals with rights that should trump those of millionaires to make a few dollars more.

You can probably think of others.

Footsies

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I swear, I’m a goooood boy. I would never go past second base before the election.

If I wanted to stay totally topical, this should have been a comic about Mike Pence’s hacked AOL account, but at this point, it’s just the same thing over and over. Hypocrites and liars being hypocrites and liars. And the fact that Mike Pence uses AOL is like…post-humor. It’s gone past comedy into some other realm where political theater and the theater of the bizarre have merged into one horrific blacklit broken mirror Wonderland where events defy categorization or comprehension.

Anyway, at least he recused himself from an investigation into the Russian election hacks he already knows didn’t happen because facts are malleable and you can discard the ones that don’t fit your world view.

My truth is that last night, after I posted the Sessions/Ozymandias comic, I realized that I had made the better joke in the blog post. So I started to draw that comic, because it was only 1 a.m. and knocking out another comic felt totally doable. But them I remembered my promise to myself when I started this project to let go of the drive for perfection, and also things that trigger insomnia, and I just let it ride and played the ukulele in the dark for an hour instead.

And then tonight, I thought I’d try a little caricature, which I haven’t done lately, because, let’s face it: Jeff Sessions looks like a kewpie doll with muppet ears. From a design perspective he’s sort of adorable. The gag was already written and all I had to do was not cross the line between big-eyed coquette Sessions and Peter Jackson’s Gollum. You would not believe how fine that line is. And here we are. I drew a comic.

Have a great weekend. Enjoy your freedoms.

No Contact

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There is definitely nothing to see here. I’m pretty tight with the administration and I can assure you that none of them did anything wrong.

Remember when these guys lost their freaking minds because Bill Clinton didn’t count fellatio as sex? But now they’re all cool with not counting multiple meetings with a Russian ambassador “considered by US intelligence to be one of Russia’s top spies and spy-recruiters in Washington, according to current and former senior US government officials,” as having “contact with the Russians.”

Jeff Sessions: “Oh, by contact with the Russians, I thought you meant playing footsies under the table with Ambassador Kislyak. We never did that. It was strictly above the waist.”

Remember, if there were to be an investigation into Russian interference with the election, this is the guy who would lead it.

Like Ozymandias, I’m sure he thinks he’s the good guy saving the world.

Superlative Abuse

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You’ve never seen torture like we’re going to torture your academic sensibilities. 

For 8 enlightened years, our president was a man of letters, an academic, a reader and a writer who engaged with books because he wanted to read and write them. He possessed a deft and detailed grasp of the English language, allowing him to communicate nuanced information at an advanced level. And yes, this alienated him from people who found education suspicious, and thinking heretical. But for those who admire intelligence, and especially after 8 years of Dubya, having a smart guy run the show was pretty reassuring. And maybe it made us forget that being eloquent and logical are not requirements for the office.

Critics keep saying that ridiculing the current administration isn’t the answer, that positive engagement is the only way to effect change, but how else are you supposed to respond to something like Thursday’s “press conference”? Like, at what point within the rambling, lies, evasion, lies, aggrandization, lies, self-congratulatory fantasy, and more lies do you interject a ray of enlightenment without touching on the inanity? It seems to me that it has to go the other way. When the majority of people finally understand they’ve been duped by word salad and ostentatious noise, then America will get off its butt and demand sanity. But obviously, I don’t know much about human beings because I couldn’t imagine that the reincarnation of P.T. Barnum could ever win a presidential election, and because I wrote this incredibly nerdy and somewhat esoteric comic that’s probably only funny to the sesquipedalian among us.

Words are important to me.

So, in between all of the rambling, lies, &c, it was the inappropriate use of superlatives that stood out for me in the text, this pattern of seeing everything not just in black and white, but also in extremity. It can’t be “good.” It has to be “the greatest.” And it can’t be “bad.” It has to be “the worst.” Unless you were actually born and raised in a neo-Nazi stronghold somewhere in the mountains of Montana and never left the compound, I guarantee you that the president is not the least anti-semitic person you’ll ever meet, not just because it’s crazy to claim the superlative on anything that hasn’t been measured by the Guiness Book, or someone with higher standards of accuracy, but also because I’ve heard audio clips of him making anti-semitic statements in the past. But he can’t say, “I don’t believe I harbor harmful stereotypes about Jewish people.” He has to claim to be the least anti-semitic person you’ll ever meet.

Man, I was raised in a traditionally Jewish family and I wouldn’t say that I’m the least anti-semitic person you’ll ever meet. I mean, I was on J-Date.

I rarely watch press conferences, and I didn’t watch this one. Even when Obama was president, I didn’t watch the State of the Union: I prefer to get my information textually. It allows for a more personal and thoughtful analysis of words. Also, I’m a terrible listener. So I always read transcripts. I read this one twice. I bet the guy who spewed those words out of his face hole didn’t read them once.

 

Comic Book Villains

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And allow me to add that, if my demands are not met in 3 days, I will release this paralyzing neurotoxin into Gotham City’s water supply. Bwoo-ha-ha-ha.

Adequate funding and educational success rates correlate pretty strongly in any type of school, but this genius, Betsy DeVos, parochial school cheerleader, believes the solution to failing schools is to cut funding. To punish them, you know, until they behave. Like strangling your child when they melt down in the grocery story until they learn their lesson. Or stop breathing. Whichever happens first. But really, she just wants to abolish the public school system and force all children to receive Christian “education.” Like if the First Amendment didn’t exist and we lived in country where separation of church and state wasn’t specifically guaranteed.

I had another insomnia night last night, totaling 0 minutes of sleep over the last 36 hours, but I couldn’t think of an Insomnia Comic. All I could think about was this woman’s terrifying smile, which, to me, says, “I know I’m a fraud but I really think I’m getting away with it.” It’s the smile of a missionary promising eternal happiness in the next life, in exchange for your embrace of physical and mental servitude in this one. The longer I’m awake, the more the incoming administration remind me of Batman villains. Their plots are so insane as to strain credulity. I don’t think I’m the first to make the Dolores Umbridge connection, either. Betsy DeVos creeps me out. I wouldn’t want her around my kids. I believe children should receive straight answers. Especially where it concerns education.

Maybe tomorrow I should do Trump as the Penguin.

Sorry I’m not terribly funny right now.

Bwoo-ha-ha-ha, indeed.

Watermelon Quilt Mandala

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It reminds me of pie. But maybe that’s just because it’s pie season. 

Here’s a jagged pink Monday mandala, straight out of that time that Laura Ingalls Wilder ate those funny mushrooms after Pa told her not to. Little House on the Psychedelic Plain.

Saturday was my birthday, and I tried to spend it being true to myself, even I had to do it in the state of Kansas, which would not have been my first choice.

What follows is a more intense political-ish essay that I also ran on Facebook:

I want to thank everybody who wished me well on my birthday. It’s my “life, the universe, and everything” year (42), and the day went as well as could be expected. It’s hard to celebrate when your prevailing emotion for the last 2 weeks has been “terrified,” and, like a lot of people, I’ve had to check out from social media a bit. Even though 97% of the friends in my feed have political values more or less in line with my own, it’s still scary. Maybe it’s more scary that way I’m not scared so much for myself, even if I am a genderqueer, pansexual, Jewish/animist/Buddhist/pantheist, because I can pass under people’s radar pretty well most of the time or get a pass as an artist even if I ping as a subversive (that’s class privilege). But I’m terrified of a world where all people are not created equal, and I’m nauseated over what’s certain to be an ongoing assault against the first amendment. I don’t know how to be an American under an administration that’s vocally opposed to the values that, to me, are most representative of America.

It makes me happy to know how many people are mobilizing, how strong the resistance is going to be. We’ll need that power to withstand the assault against human rights that has already commenced. But at the same time, more than ever, I believe that a house divided against itself cannot stand, and that only the ability to build bridges and will save us in the long run. We can’t tolerate bigotry, but we can’t pretend that bigots are not American too. Yes, racists, yes, misogynists, yes homophobes/transphobes. They live here. They aren’t going to go away. They probably aren’t going to change. But they are human beings. They are Americans. I hope some of them can be won over with love. I hope that things are not as bleak as they seem, and I hope that this country finds its way back to the 21st century. Those of us who have gotten this far are NOT GOING BACK. Obviously. You can’t kill an idea. You definitely cannot kill 100s of years of ideas.

I support everyone working to ensure that it doesn’t happen, to mitigate damage. Personally, I’m not very good at in-the-street activism. Just being near a crowd of angry people is kind of debilitating to me, even if I share their anger, but I know it’s an effective tactic, and more effective the bigger it gets.

After 9/11, like a lot of people, I kind of went a little insane with grief and fear, but after a few days, I remembered that I am a fantasist, and that I’m fortunate to be one of those people whose purpose in life has always been clear, and has only become more clarified with the passage of time. I create things–art and food primarily–and that’s basically all I know how to do. And that’s all I can do. And that’s what I will do. And I hope that, in doing so, I remain true to my purpose, and my values, and to the people doing what I cannot. But I can’t abandon a doctrine of love. As a pantheist, I can’t draw a line between myself and the rest of the world. I refuse to answer hatred with hatred. I will stand up for the oppressed and I will oppose oppression, but I will not hate.

Dragon Comics 91

It doesn't work of course. Politicians are in your schools, your churches, and your police stations. They'll get your kids, one way or another.

It doesn’t work of course. Politicians are in your schools, your churches, and your police stations. They’ll get your kids, one way or another.

Presidential elections terrify me. Our American political process is so bloated and corrupt. Tempers run high. The country is too big; we’re all too different. No single candidate can satisfy even 51% of us, and for people like me, with political views so far out of the mainstream that no one ever represents us, it’s just a farce. The money wasted is just a slap in the face. How many people could be fed, clothed, and housed for the nearly one billion dollars that a couple of billionaires focused on increasing their own assets casually promised to their favorite candidate?

The worst part is the campaigning. It’s not confined to any arena. It’s everywhere, and you can’t escape it, even if you want to. In the last election, I literally couldn’t figure out how to make Google News stop showing me election news. I strongly believe in compartmentalizing, but it’s not possible in presidential elections. Everyone has opinions and everyone shares them everywhere. You can’t not hear the mudslinging and muckraking and empty promises and bombastic bloviation.

It used to be considered in poor taste to discuss politics outside of political gatherings. Now it’s considered ignorant to not constantly spew your views regardless of whether or not people care to hear them. When you ask people to change the subject, they refuse.

I’d like to see some actual degree of democracy in the political process. The way I see it, it would be most fair to lay things out like this: anyone can establish a candidacy with a certain number of signatures on a petition, but all interested individuals would have to attain their own signatures in the same forum. No advertising in any other forum would be allowed, and in the first round, only position statements could be displayed. People would have to go to this political forum to determine which candidates interested them. Then, there would be a series of run-offs to limit the number of candidates to a reasonable degree, after which each viable candidate would be allotted the exact same amount of money to produce whatever campaign materials they needed, all of which could only be distributed through the same political forum: videos, pamphlets, ads. Debates would all be held on the same forum. We could all vote there, online, as well.

It’s the only non-disgusting way I can see it working. Right now what we’ve got is something between an oligarchy and a plutocracy, and it’s not working. Right now, we’d be seriously better off running the presidential campaign like American Idol or Survivor. It would be far more dignified than what we’re going to be subjected to in the next 18 1/2 months.