The Sorensen Monologues

Archive for May, 2024

The Great Regression

Like many Americans, I marvel at the speed with which we went from the historic election of Barack Obama to the brink of fascism. Clearly these events are not unrelated; racial resentment exploded in reaction to Obama’s presidency. But this moment of reactionary politics goes well beyond that historical first and now seems to permeate every aspect of life, anywhere some degree of social progress has been achieved. What we’re seeing is a broad-based backsliding on many fronts, with rights that took decades to achieve — or even hundreds of years — disappearing before our eyes. It’s important to keep in mind that this is largely a top-down movement, driven by billionaires and corporate interests. Plenty of them are lining up behind Trump.

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Growing Hypocrisy

I’ve noticed that some people who seem fine with rampant development — and in some cases have profited mightily from it — suddenly become very concerned about growth when the need to build affordable housing arises in their own neighborhood. I do think that growth without any thought to the kind of dense development being created can also be a disaster. Are the new buildings ugly and so cheaply constructed that residents can hear everything their neighbors do through the walls? Are we allowing vehicle size to increase enormously at the same time we are trying to put people in ever denser spaces where they walk and bike? Are we regulating vehicle noise (and leaf blowers!) so people can live and sleep in these denser spaces? Are we keeping some nature? It seems to me that we need to do a number of things differently if we are to create livable cities that accommodate more people.

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Where’s the Crisis?

Only a few weeks ago, the world was aghast at Israel’s killing of seven World Central Kitchen aid workers in three separate vehicles, and an investigation revealed the IDF’s AI targeting system that tolerated enormous numbers of civilian casualties. It’s no mystery why students are protesting. While many politicians and journalists vilified the protesters and openly discussed denying them future employment, displaced Gazans in Rafah thanked them with signs and spray paint graffiti on the sides of their tents. One such message read “Thank you, students in solidarity with Gaza. Your message has reached (us).” Yet in American media coverage, the fact that these kids are protesting is treated like the far greater crisis, worse than the actual death and destruction being rained down on real human beings.

Since I finished this cartoon, people occupied a building at Columbia, and pro-Palestinian students at UCLA were violently attacked by counterprotesters — it’s hard to keep up with the news cycle.

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Jen Sorensen is a cartoonist for Daily Kos, The Nation, In These Times, Politico and other publications throughout the US. She received the 2023 Berryman Award for Editorial Cartooning from the National Press Foundation, and is a recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. She is also a Pulitzer Finalist.

 

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