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.
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.
This cartoon came about from the recent realization that an obnoxiously libertarian internet entrepreneur/huckster used to live in my neighborhood. You know, one of those “government needs to get out of the way of innovation” bros who don’t perhaps fully appreciate the origins of the internet as a government program, or all the other scientific research that has been government-funded. I’m so sick of these people.
UPDATE: For more, see this blog post responding to reader comments.
A couple relevant articles from Charleston, West Virginia (you know, where Trump cares so much about working people):
Then there’s this gem from Houston, where they have, oh, just a few chemical plants and refineries:
While little known to the masses, the CSB is to chemical disasters what the much better-funded National Transportation Safety Board is to airline crashes, train derailments and bridge collapses. Without the recommendations that come from these boards, preventable accidents repeat themselves.
Gutting the CSB is “standing up for death and destruction,” said chemical safety consultant Paul Orum. “It’s disrespectful to those killed in such incidents.”
You’ve probably heard of the cuts to PBS. After I wrote the cartoon, I found out the 2014 movie Muppets Most Wanted was set in a gulag. I know somebody is going to mention this, so let me just say I am aware of the Muppet-labor camp connection.
In case you haven’t heard about Anton’s eyebrow-raising essay, “The Flight 93 Election,” here’s a good rundown. In short, the former George W. Bush speechwriter (and now Trump national security adviser) equated the 2016 election with the hijacked Flight 93 heroically brought down by passengers on 9/11. He urged conservatives to “charge the cockpit” and support Trump despite the candidate’s flaws, because there was no coming back from a Hillary presidency. From the New York magazine article linked above:
“The ceaseless importation of Third World foreigners with no tradition of, taste for, or experience in liberty means that the electorate grows more left, more Democratic, less Republican, less republican, and less traditionally American with every cycle,” he writes. He describes the children of immigrants as “ringers to form a permanent electoral majority.”
He adds, “I want my party to live. I want my country to live. I want my people to live.” As though one more Democratic administration would dash those hopes forever. (I guess he’s not too worried about Trump’s microfingers fondling the nuclear football.)
Clearly America’s changing demographics have Republicans rattled, and the message they’ve telegraphed is clear: we can expect a massive assault on voter rights. And it’s hardly just Trump; the “voter fraud” myth has been perpetuated for years. This is the real Flight 93 situation for our country. As we’ve seen in places like Russia and Turkey, once you’ve gone down the authoritarian path, it’s hard to come back.
I unfortunately had to cut a panel about the stolen Supreme Court seat, which is another glaring piece of evidence that we are dealing with a revolutionary force — not a political party operating within the norms of democracy.