Sometimes I can’t believe the things I have to draw cartoons about these days. When I began the weekly strip some eighteen years ago or so, I never imagined I’d be making the case against fascism in America. It felt like the dam broke this past week, that whatever was holding back an explosion of violent nutballery that’s been waiting in the wings is now gone. All I can do is try to point out the obvious, that these acts are the culmination of decades of over-the-top conspiracy theorizing and incitement on the American right. And no amount of being “nicer” or more “open-minded” is going to change things.
In previous cartoons, I have dealt with the folly of giving fascists and roundly-discredited racial theorists prestigious speaking platforms — such as Steve Bannon headlining the New Yorker ideas festival — and made the case that it is not “closed-minded” to object to such norm-violating appointments. Here I take on the same basic topic from another angle: if fascists and racists must be treated as part of serious contemporary intellectual debate, as some insist, surely there must be some point when the debate is over? If not, then it follows that there’s no way to ever condemn a set of ideas or come to any conclusions. An analog would be people who want endless “debate” over climate change, long after scientific consensus has been established. The Bannons and climate deniers of the world are free to speak their nonsense, but rehashing it endlessly leads absolutely nowhere.
This has been one of those weeks for me. I broke my phone, then someone smashed my car window and stole a bag containing my scanner (fortunately I had my computer), all my art supplies, and a book about birding… probably not the haul they were expecting. So I’ve been a little stressed. Luckily, this “classic” strip was easily updated for the horrific situation in Georgia, where Kemp is taking voter suppression to new extremes.
The GOP has become absolutely brazen about ignoring basic democratic principles. It’s all very frightening and makes it all the more imperative that those of us who can still vote do in fact vote.
In other news, I contributed a couple illustrations to this book, along with many other political cartoonists.
A week ago someone asked me what I thought the odds were of Kavanaugh being confirmed. This was when many people thought his nomination was doomed. I said 10:1 he will be confirmed. My read all along has been that there is simply no mechanism left to stop Republican lawlessness.They simply do not care about any of the standards that matter in a normal democracy. Perjury doesn’t matter, evidence of sexual assault doesn’t matter, thousands of law professors signing a letter saying that he is not qualifed doesn’t matter. And here we are.
I have noted before that the Trump era is often difficult to parody because it is already so extreme, and nothing illustrates this better than the Kavanaugh hearings. The man is a serial liar, and it’s not at all hard to prove. His laughable explanations for the slang terms he used in his high school yearbook are such obvious hogwash, it’s like he wasn’t even trying to be plausible. The thing is, these weren’t just little lies — they were directly related to his history of binge drinking and his attitudes toward women in high school and college. Whatever his behavior then, he’s lying now, and should be nowhere near a position of power that involves evaluating evidence.
There is a darkly entertaining article about a gay punk who was unfortunate enough to share Kavanaugh’s dorm at Yale. If Kavanaugh is confirmed, I’m afraid we will all be that guy.