The Sorensen Monologues

Archive for April, 2017

The Times they aren’t a-changin’


Suffer the children

I’m a bit delayed posting the strip this week, but I have a pretty good excuse. On Monday afternoon, I learned I was a Pulitzer Finalist. I’ve never been so thrilled to come in second place for anything. It’s nice to see the Pulitzers increasingly recognize that political cartoons can come in a variety of formats.

A few relevant reads for this week’s comic: this Mother Jones article explains what you need to know about Trump’s EPA reversing the scheduled ban on chlorpyrifos.

Major studies from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the University of California-Davis, and Columbia University have found strong evidence that low doses of chlorpyrifos inhibits kids’ brain development, including when exposure occurs in the womb, with effects ranging from lower IQ to higher rates of autism. Several studies—examples herehere, and here—have found it in the urine of kids who live near treated fields. In 2000, the EPA banned most home uses of the chemical, citing risks to children.

See also this from Human Rights Watch: EPA Decision Could Put Children at Risk

This should be getting as much attention as that guy getting pulled off the United Airlines flight. Countless kids, especially child farmworkers, and those who live near farms, will suffer from this decision. Now that’s caring about the working class!

There’s also this about how the Republican replacement for the ACA threatened to hurt children.

And more on how the repeal of Obama’s Clean Power Plan would affect air pollution, and kids’ health in particular.

 


Portraits of an Extreme Supreme


And now a word about “republics” vs. “democracies”

I’ve received many comments over the past week about my last cartoon, snootily lecturing me that “We live in a republic, not a democracy.” I’m posting my response here so I can point people to it in the future.

1. A constitutional republic is a form of democracy. To quote from this:

The United States is not a direct democracy, in the sense of a country in which laws (and other government decisions) are made predominantly by majority vote. Some lawmaking is done this way, on the state and local levels, but it’s only a tiny fraction of all lawmaking. But we are a representative democracy, which is a form of democracy.

2. It’s not big or small government that I care about; it’s smart or stupid. In other words, it’s about policy, not “the government.” Once you start doing away with government, or the idea that government regulation is necessary, you grant more power to corporations and Wall Street. Government exists as a check on abuses of power by moneyed interests. While government can be corrupt to varying degrees, the fashionably cynical belief that all government is inherently corrupt is an idea that enables corruption.

The primary way to end government corruption is through campaign finance reform and publicly-funded elections. Anti-government libertarians have not supported candidates or policies that would lead to this outcome. Gorsuch will uphold Citizens United, ensuring future corruption of politicians by moneyed interests, furthering the right-wing ideology that government is inherently corrupt. And so the cycle continues.


Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

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