I almost didn’t draw this comic today. I almost didn’t draw any comic today. For one thing, this is an illustration where my lack of advanced cartooning skills kills me, because this would be 10 times as powerful with better drawings. For another, it has been made clear to me that my views on democratic socialism, while widely shared among those with whom I went to school and my current friends, are pretty far from the mainstream, and downright offensive to some.
It’s confusing to me how people can own 3 mansions and 12 cars and not think about the less fortunate at any point in their lives. I personally earned about $300 last year, and I gave pretty much all of it to charity (I am a special case, obviously, living on The Man’s largesse, some of which I also gave to charity) in addition to having a regular volunteer job, which I’ve been doing for over 11 years. But apparently, there are some people who think it’s totally fine to stockpile vast resources they could never hope to use in 50 lifetimes and give nothing to the community while there are homeless, hungry kids on the other side of the tracks whose lives would be immeasurably improved with 1% of what the rich people don’t use.
If the American presidential election were held today from among the current candidates, but only the people I know on Facebook were voting, the tally would stand at something like 80% Sanders, 15% Clinton, 1% Trump, and 4% whoever else remained in the Republican clown car. But America is diverse, and apparently some people somewhere do not think Donald Trump is the most selfish, least responsible, sorriest excuse for a leader ever to take to the campaign trail. We’re talking about a guy who hates women, hates minorities, hates the poor (so already, this guy hates probably 85% of America), has bankrupted 4 of his own companies, spit on the media, and clearly has no understanding of what a person might be expected to do should that person be elected president. (Hint: the president has to answer questions about what he’s going to do with meaningful and honest statements; the president doesn’t get to skip important meetings because he doesn’t like the person moderating them.) We’re talking about a guy who claims he built an empire from nothing, a guy who considers a million dollar loan from his dad “nothing.” (I also read that, if he had just put that million in some kind of standard money market account, he would be 10 times as rich as he is now. This really isn’t a person you want making budget decisions. This isn’t a leader. It’s a taker.)
So, that’s my story. I just drew something that’s going to make me unpopular, but I’m standing behind it. Sharing is caring. Unchecked selfishness is sick. Regardless of who is elected president of America, I still believe in socialized medicine, fully funded public schools, the post office, the highway system, and having firefighters available to people of every income level, including no income at all. Anyway, as an artist, I’m compelled to tell the truth. Anyway, this is my blog, and if you don’t like it, you can go start your own blog and post original art and writing 5 days a week and send it out into the world for strangers to judge and see how that feels. (Hint: something like this.)
In panel 1, I made the worthless lowlife receiving the handout an artist, obviously. The arts are always the first thing to go. But when I was telling the Girl about FDR and the WPA the other day, the first thing that came to my mind was that there was funding for artists in the WPA. There are still great works of art, which you can see today, that were commissioned by the government. There was a time when the government paid lots of artists to create art, and that art elevated the country. That art inspired people who were beaten down and wanted to give up. And that was democratic socialism. If you visit national parks, many of the roads and improvements you use will have been forged by young workers hired by the WPA. You might think we don’t need art and parks, but I promise you, we do. Without art and parks, there isn’t much point to anything else.
In panel 2, I chose the communal table because this type of dining is very powerful. My mother was a big believer in large dinner parties, and I take it ever further. If you know how to cook, you can make a lot of food for a lot of people without having a lot of money. If there are people, I cook. It is always joyful to share food, no matter how little I have. This guy I know from Benin, who owns a local restaurant, once told me, “In my country, we say that if you share with your friends, you always have more food.” Maybe that sounds paradoxical, but in my experience, it’s 100% true. I feed people, and it inspires them to feed people, and everyone gets to eat. We don’t begrudge those who can’t contribute today. We know that if we give them something now, it will boost them up enough that they’ll contribute tomorrow.
And if they don’t, you know what? It’s still the right thing to do.