The Sorensen Monologues

Archive for February, 2016

The New Normal


How not to be a sexist jerk this election season

I swore I wasn’t going to do an election strip this week, but the alternative was a comic about excessive amounts of cellulose filler found in cans of grated Parmesan cheese. You can guess how well that went.

Let me say up front that I do not consider Bernie to be a sexist jerk, since I know that’s what many people are going to assume. To the contrary, I think he’s a feminist. He did, however, say something uncool that I felt needed calling out (in the same spirit, let’s say, that he publicly criticizes Obama when he disagrees with him). For those unfamiliar with the backstory, Bernie was defending a controversial comment made by the rapper Killer Mike (who was actually quoting a feminist scholar friend) about a uterus not qualifying one to be president. Setting aside the point that I think most Hillary supporters are factoring in more than just the uterus situation, Bernie’s claim that he would never ask voters to support him because he’s a man struck me as an odd case of false equivalence, the kind of context-free, ahistorical argument we tend to hear from right-wingers shooting down affirmative action or calls for greater workplace diversity. Of course he wouldn’t ask people to vote for him because he’s a man. There’s no need!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not particularly attached to either Hillary or Bernie, but I do think we need more women in politics. While gender certainly — obviously! — shouldn’t be the only factor, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a female president. And while I think the “Bernie Bro” phenomenon has been somewhat overstated, I’ve come to realize that a lot of otherwise well-meaning people just don’t quite take our nation’s glaring absence of a single female president or vice president very seriously. You don’t even have to support Hillary to acknowledge that solving the problem is important. Just as President Obama has provided a positive role model and sense of possibility to countless numbers of people, a woman in the Oval Office would have a powerful effect.


SCANDAL: President to nominate Supreme Court justice

If Scalia had died during the final year of the George W. Bush administration, can you imagine the GOP making the absurd claim that a successor must not be named in an election year? There is no debate to be had here. It’s Obama’s turn.

May this be the beginning of the end of a retrograde Supreme Court that has been so destructive to our democracy and civil rights, a court more interested in protecting the lives of coal companies than those of Earth’s seven billion human beings. Time for a new era.


Hillary and Bernie supporter smackdown

I usually hate it when pundits try to play peacemaker, lamenting divisiveness and partisanship when there may be very good reasons for such behaviors to exist. But when it comes to the Democratic primaries, which I’m observing with no particular sense of attachment, I think things have taken an unnecessarily ugly turn lately. Yes, supporters and surrogates of both candidates have said stupid things. Hillary would do herself a favor by avoiding going negative on Bernie and his supporters, which only backfires (as some of her more prominent defenders demonstrated spectacularly over the weekend). I question some aspects of Hillary’s record, but she doesn’t deserve the outright demonization coming from some quarters of the left.

Let’s not lose sight of the big picture. Ted Cruz is my senator, okay? We’re bickering over two pretty acceptable candidates while the political equivalent of the bubonic plague is threatening to descend on the United States.


The Trump-supporting union member

Well, Ted Cruz has won Iowa, an outcome I find no less gooseflesh-inducing than a Trump victory.  A few days ago, a disturbing report surfaced about Trump making inroads among union members. According to a study conducted by Working America, white working-class voters who support Trump cited his tendency to “speak his mind” as the quality they most admired. This attribute was more of a driving factor among his supporters than agreement with his policy positions.

Possibly the biggest blow to labor under a Trump or Cruz presidency would come in the form of extremist Supreme Court nominees. Trump has mentioned Clarence Thomas as his favorite justice. With unions already under assault at the state level, a Supreme Court tilted even more toward radical market fundamentalism and against worker rights would be absolutely devastating.


Jen Sorensen is a nationally-syndicated political cartoonist whose work has appeared in The Progressive, The Nation, Daily Kos, Austin Chronicle, NPR, Ms., Politico, and many other publications. The recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, she tweets at @JenSorensen.

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