READERS - Today's cartoon represents a little change of pace. It was supposed to run a week ago, before events in Tucson took over the news cycle. It was a simple piece about "symbolism" - but how could we have predicted how much symbolism would come into play for the week?
The mainstream media tried (and failed) to make Jared Loughner the symbol of the Tea Party...but he instead became the symbol of the partisan press.
And a beautiful, nine-year-old girl who tragically and senselessly lost her life became the symbol of a nation which has lived under a thick and suffocating cloud of dread since 9/11.
Symbols matter...but only if they represent something real. As do symbolic votes if they represent the will of the people.
In his (extremely) weakly address, Barack Obama called for an end to "symbolic battles" in Congress. Like, oh, just taking a wild guess here...next week's House vote to repeal Obamacare.
Of course, the only reason that such a repeal bill is "symbolic" is because Mr. Obama has already said that he'll veto it, whether the American people want it or not.
But to be fair, the alleged president has been fairly consistent about disliking symbolism. While on the campaign trail, candidate Obama famously rejected American flag pins, saying "I won't wear that pin on my chest" because it was a "substitute for true patriotism." He has also rejected the symbolism of attending important state funerals (preferring to golf), visiting allies, or allowing the Whitehouse to become cluttered with meaningless symbols like the bust of Winston Churchill which represented the close relationship our nation used to have with England.
Still, Mr. Obama occasionally supports really, really important symbolism.
Like having his wife turn a portion of the Whitehouse grounds into a yam farm to remind all Americans that we should be thinking less about jobs... and more about becoming sharecroppers.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
At Wednesday's Memorialpalooza rally in Tucson, Barack Obama asked our nation to start speaking "in a way that heals, not a way that wounds." Which is excellent advice, even if many people couldn't hear the president over the chanting crowds, t-shirt vendors, and trumpeting vuvuzelas.
But Hope n' Change got the message loud and clear, and we're putting Mr. Obama's advice into practice immediately.
We won't accuse talk show hosts of murder, nor will we accuse politicians of anti-Semitism when they deny false allegations. We will not suggest that heartless doctors saw the feet off diabetics to make money, nor will we threaten bankers with pitchforks. We won't say that police historically act stupidly.
We won't falsely accuse any news network of saying "wouldn't it be fun to kill people we disagree with?" We will not equate military veterans with terrorists. We will not treat the word "Caucasian" as a synonym for "racist." And we will not disparage America or American values overseas.
Thank you, Mr. Obama. You've opened our eyes.
In fact, it happened right after you left our room.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Following a valiant but ultimately futile fight for life following the tragic shootings in Tucson, journalism was officially declared dead yesterday.
For four days, the biggest story in the news was a story that the press and politicians made up; that Jared Lee Loughner was influenced by a "climate of hate" created by conservatives who called for fiscal responsibility, transparency in government, and return to the principles of our Constitution.
And it wasn't easy for the press; in order to keep the story going, they not only had to manufacture their talking points, they had to ignore all of the real facts.
But yesterday, in the biggest unauthorized disclosure of "top secret" information since Wikileaks, a friend of Loughner's confirmed that he never watched the news and wasn't interested in politics. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal (a newspaper which archaically still relies on facts) published Loughner's online rants in which he lambasted teachers and cops, claimed that college girls enjoy rape, and said that he was disturbed by his inability to find a job.
Sarah Palin has labeled the press's actions "blood libel," and she's exactly right. And while Hope n' Change is strongly against curtailing free speech, we believe that libel should still be punishable in a court of law...and that every politician and member of the press who has babbled about the rightwing "climate of hate" in the past week should find themselves in the dock.
Although ironically, their actions have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a poisonous "climate of hate" being aggressively pushed in America.
And they're the pushers.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
The mainstream press and Democrats have made it clear that in the future, no political questions should be asked, nor opinions stated, which could even conceivably reach the ears of a homicidal lunatic. In Washington DC, liberal legislators are trying to figure out how to codify this policy as law, but there's a major flaw in that plan.
As Pima County Sheriff Clarence "Talk Radio" Dupnik has pointed out, he knew that Jared Lee Loughner was a dangerous mental case for years...but he couldn't act until after Loughner started killing people. Similarly, the Democrats' "Don't Stir Up The Loonies" bill wouldn't prevent political disagreement, it would only give authorities the ability to prosecute after the fact...when blood (or more tragically, printer's ink) had already spilled. And that's just not good enough.
Which is why the obvious answer is for Barack Obama to give Robert Gibbs' now-available job as Press Secretary to Jared Lee Loughner.
What better way to assure that no unpleasant questions will be asked in the future? How else can we guarantee that political speech is properly modulated to keep schizophrenics smiling and happy?
Oh sure, a few namby-pamby reporters on the Whitehouse beat may be a little uncomfortable at first...but if Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin aren't in the press room to stir him up, then Loughner is utterly harmless.
After all...that's what those same press people are telling the American public.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
As leftwing media still struggles mightily to connect Jared Lee Loughner with Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh (all of whom, suspiciously, have vowels in their name), the Democrats are preparing to introduce a bill which would turn Loughner's paranoid, schizophrenic obsession into law.
Representative Robert Brady, who (unless he's really selfish) will call his legislation the "Brady/Loughner Bill," hopes to pass a federal law that would make it a "crime to use language or symbols which could be perceived as threatening" to federal officials or members of congress. Although it would presumably still be okay for politicians to threaten ordinary citizens, such as when Barack Obama tells supporters to "get in the faces" of his opponents, or "bring a gun to a knife fight."
As examples of the Brady/Loughner Bill, it would be a federal crime to put crosshairs or bullseyes into any political ad or commentary. Candidates could no longer be described as "targeted" or "vulnerable." Opponents would no longer be said to "beat" each other, nor could hopeful candidates "have a shot" at winning an election.
Presumably, constituents will no longer be able to painfully "poke" their elected representatives on Facebook, nor send letters which might inflict dangerous paper cuts. Email, which could cause eyestrain, will be abolished. And when you think of the dangerous stress levels that candidates could suffer from losing an election...well, we'll have to put a stop to that, too.
Certainly all political opinions expressed on radio, television, print or the Internet are potentially capable of creating agitation in the unstable (whom Democrats seem to feel make up a dangerous percentage of Americans), so all such expression of opinion will be outlawed.
And then, when all of the words and thoughts are controlled...nothing like the Tucson shootings can ever happen again.
Unless they're committed by someone insane.
Monday, January 10, 2011
The political Left and mainstream media have a new hero...and his name is Jared Lee Loughner.
Like the born-again Christians these groups so frequently mock, they "hate the sin (of the shootings), but love the sinner" because he's become the latest vehicle they can use to attack Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, Talk Radio, and conservatives in general.
This despite the fact that evidence (currently being erased from the Internet) seems to indicate that Loughner was actually a "left-leaning liberal." Which shouldn't matter; this wasn't about politics - it was about insanity. And whatever Loughner's personal demons or schizophrenic belief system, it would be preposterous to try to saddle either the Left or the Right with the blame.
But it's happening anyway. Jane Fonda, who famously posed with North Vietnamese anti-aircraft guns, now says that Sarah Palin's symbolic use of crosshairs on a campaign map caused the violence. NY Times columnist Paul Krugman blames a "culture of hate" fomented by Palin, Beck, Limbaugh and the like. And in a particularly transparent bit of journalistic masturbation, Andrew Sullivan of the Atlantic seems to suggest that the "incandescent rage" exhibited in the Palin camp's denial of involvement is proof that they're capable of incandescent rage...and therefore guilty as charged.
By the way, the use of "therefore" and "thus" appear a lot in the tortured writings of Jared Lee Loughner. By following any two oxymoronic and unrelated statements with the word "thus," he thought he was achieving some sort of logical truism. But logic doesn't work that way - even if the Leftwing media does.
For instance, should we believe: "Liberals hate George Bush. Judge Moll was appointed by George Bush. Thus Judge Moll's killer was a liberal."
Or: "Liberals hated Ronald Reagan. John Hinckley shot Reagan to impress a Hollywood actress. Thus liberals will attempt to kill because they think Hollywood wants them to."
Or maybe: "Squeaky Fromme tried to kill a conservative President. Squeaky Fromme was a member of the Manson family. Thus anti-conservatives share the murderous beliefs of the Manson family."
We could go on for days...but like the vulture in today's cartoon, and unlike the mainstream media, we don't have the stomach for it.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Here at Hope n' Change, our modest goal is just to try and make sense of the world, and perhaps even find something to laugh about. But sometimes that's impossible.
Yesterday in Tucson, a lunatic went to a Safeway parking lot and opened fire on a U.S. congresswoman, a federal judge, and every innocent person within range of his automatic weapon. And immediately the speculation started: was the shooter white? Black? Hispanic? A veteran? A tea party member? A gang member?
Was Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords targeted because she was a Democrat... or perhaps because she was too conservative and had voted against Nancy Pelosi?
We all wanted to know the narrative. We wanted to know who to blame. Because any tangible logic at all at least gives us hope that future tragedies can be averted.
But then we started to learn about the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner. And within 30 seconds of watching the YouTube videos he'd recently posted, his whole story became clear: the man is simply insane. Schizophrenic. Howling at the moon, foaming at the mouth, "hearing voices" crazy.
He claimed that his murder spree was intended to make everyone aware of conscious dreaming - although he couldn't even spell it right. He called it "conscience dreaming," which is particularly ironic since he clearly has no conscience.
As of this writing, Gabrielle Giffords is fighting for her life with traumatic head wounds. US District Judge John M. Roll, who was appointed by President George Bush, was among the six dead...as was a nine year old girl. And Jared Lee Loughner is in custody and expected to mount an insanity defense.
On Loughner's YouTube profile, he says that one of his favorite books is "To Kill A Mockingbird." In it, a mad dog is a danger to everyone in town, forcing mild-mannered attorney Atticus Finch to pick up a rifle. He does not hate the dog, nor blame the dog for its madness. But he unflinchingly pulls the trigger...simultaneously protecting his family and community, and putting the dog out of its misery.
It was clearly the right thing to do. And insanity defense or not, it would be the right thing for our justice system to do now.
More information will be coming soon. But predictably, there are already people trying to spin this tragedy for political purposes.
And that, in its own way, is another kind of madness.