The Sorensen Monologues

The Defense Rests

Chauvin’s lawyer Eric Nelson argued that the cop who pressed his knee on George Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes behaved as “any reasonable police officer” would. Nelson’s strategy was to sow doubt and spin alternative narratives, blaming Floyd’s demise on his drug use despite overwhelming evidence he was choked to death. This article enumerates the diversionary techniques that were employed to make jurors question what they could see plainly with their own eyes. 

“The Establishment”

When the Right labels good functioning government that actually helps people “the Establishment,” this is an Orwellian inversion — turning reality upside down for authoritarian ends by inverting the meaning of terms. The progressive left now uses the term about other progressives, and the whole thing has degenerated into a meaningless insult.

Big Bezos Is Watching

If you haven’t heard about Amazon’s delivery driver surveillance cameras, this Thomson Reuters article is a good place to start. Amazon has a long history of inflexible micromanaging of the motions of warehouse workers, and they’re apparently extending that to the trucks now.

A Trans-parent Pretense

Right-wingers who never seemed to give a damn about women’s sports before are suddenly filled with concern for the well-being of female athletes. Frankly, they can take their hypocritical faux feminism and cram it. You don’t get to use the fight for gender equality as cover for your own bigotry against trans people.

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Border Blather

At some point recently, an idea emerged from the fetid bowels of right-wing media that there was suddenly a “border crisis” and that it’s all Biden’s fault. If you look at the actual data, however, the recent rise in border apprehensions began under Trump, well before Biden took office, and the numbers are not terribly out of line with past cycles. These three handy Reuters charts put everything into perspective (the first panel of this cartoon is based on the “total apprehensions” chart).

What’s Your Militia?

I make light of militias here, but the fact that I’m even joking about them is a sign of a serious problem. These fringe groups used to be rightly kept at the margins of society; now, with each passing day, their extremist ideologies grow ever more mainstream. Unfortunately, it seems as though there’s a great momentum towards forgetting that the government was almost overthrown, and moving on to stupid stuff.

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More Voter Suppression Funnies, Georgia Edition

The despicable bills targeted at Black voters in Georgia should be the biggest news story in the country right now. And yet, in a demonstration of the power of right-wing media, it seems more people are talking about a ginned-up “controversy” over cartoon characters, which is much ado about very little. (Love Dr. Seuss, fine with retiring the old racist stuff, maybe we should recognize when we’re being led around by the nose and stop taking the bait?)

Naked Partisans

I’ve had this quibble for a while now that the language used to talk about political activism by Democrats or progressives often assumes a partisan motivation — that people are acting out of team loyalty or an abstract “agenda” rather than, you know, trying to survive. Last weekend, a Maureen Dowd column in the NYT was widely ridiculed for some fairly out-of-touch scolding of Dems for media criticism. Dowd railed against a perceived expectation that the press “suit up for team Blue” — a phrase that struck me as emblematic of how entrenched the “both sides” paradigm is, even after one side violently tries to end democracy. 

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Progressives Discovered in Red States

In my own personal experience, red state progressives are amazing badasses. Which is not to say there aren’t incredible activists in blue states. But there’s a certain humility, I think, that comes with going up against incredible odds, and an awareness of who your real enemies are. 

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Impeachment Jury Duty Questionnaire

I was already pretty cynical about what the GOP has become, but the number of Republican politicians defending domestic terrorism, lying about who the perpetrators were (Nancy Pelosi?! Antifa?!), and lying about the election results, has exceeded even my worst expectations. On Fox, Tucker Carlson falsely suggested the impeachment trial was deceptive, comparing it to the “myth” that George Floyd died at the hands of police. This is one of the most-watched news programs in the country spewing shockingly sick conspiracy theories. The fact that there are no consequences anymore — for anything — is a sign that this grotesque movement has captured far too much power. If there is no bottom, where does that lead us?

Race Dismissed

There’s been a spate of stories lately about the right’s attempts to block Black history education. To mention just one: An Ogden, Utah Montessori (!) school sent an opt-out form to parents after receiving pushback to planned Black History Month activities. The letter, which the school sent “reluctantly,” according to the director, allowed families “to exercise their civil rights to not participate in Black History Month at the school.” Now there’s a new twist on civil rights!

The Life Cycle of a Crazy Idea

As you’ve probably heard by now, newly-elected Republican Representative from Georgia Marjorie Taylor Greene once endorsed an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that wildfires in California were caused by laser beams from the Rothschilds, a Jewish family that figures prominently in many such theories by far-right hate groups. It’s easy to laugh at this stuff, but she is increasingly becoming the face of the GOP.  The growing momentum of this movement, as it swallows the entire Republican party like a rapidly expanding sinkhole, is incredibly dangerous.

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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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