Sometimes it’s hard to remember: love is an act of resistance in a culture of hatred. Why should it be easier to turn against strangers than to find a place to meet in the middle? I wrote the script for this comic in the early afternoon but didn’t actually finish creating it until well after midnight, and now I have nothing left to say for the blog. I’m tired.
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.
Everything’s off-kilter, and being angry about it doesn’t seem to help. In fact, I feel like my attitude is probably starting to annoy people, so I tried to shift back to something resembling my previous brand of humor without completely abandoning the perspective that the United States of America is completely screwed up right now. I cannot authorize a federal investigation into Russian interference with the US election. I can’t force John McCain to rally Congress around the goal of restoring sanity to politics. I can’t protect my own health coverage. But, here and there, if you look around, you can fix little things, sometimes.
Of course, if we had just done a better job of teaching schoolchildren to recognize and reject logical fallacies for the last 30 years, we wouldn’t be in this situation. Ditto germ theory and the role of vaccinations in preventing the spread of infectious disease.
Organizing books is my personal meditation. You don’t have to break into people’s houses to do it. Public school libraries will usually let you just come in and do it for free. Some places actually pay you to do it!
This is my friend Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, the Liberian-American poet, in the first panel. We went to graduate school together. She came to America as a refugee, one of a million people displaced by a war that killed 200,000. There were only like 2 million people in Liberia before the troubles. She knows something about how bad the world can get.
Most of my poet friends seem to write Facebook statuses that are also poetry, and when I saw this update, it felt like it had the same rhythm of some of my 4-panel comics, so I asked her if I could adapt it and she kindly said yes. I love the line, “If you ain’t start writing poetry this year, you might never.”
If you’re unfamiliar, panel 3 is Harry Carey, a popular sportscaster whose catchphrase was “holy cow,” and panel 4 is an iconic picture of activists Gloria Steinham and Dorothy Pitman Hughes illustrating solidarity.