Back in the 1870’s (you remember it as well as I do, don’t you?) a cartoonist named Thomas Nast basically invented the political cartoon. Back then, a bloated New York politician and his gang of criminals were busy getting wealthy through corrupt business and government relationships. Nast used his gift for scribbly-art satire to lampoon the buffoons and make the public laugh at the evil he exposed. Of course, they knew about the corruption of Boss Tweed before they laughed at the cartoons, but the focus on the problem created by Nast’s magnifying glass focusing the rays of sunlight on the problem is often credited with helping to burn up the scandal.
Cartoonists had power back then. Power over public opinion. The power to help fairly uncomplicated (and sometimes stupid) folk to recognize the absurdity of the situation and the need for changing it.
So why haven’t cartoonists fried the Make-America-Great-Again orangutan running the country now with his brand of corpulent corruption already? Believe me, they are trying.
They have already highlighted the way the Bozo Administration manipulates the focus of the mainstream media. Every time media coverage begins to converge on one scandal, he creates another big, smelly media poop of a controversy to redirect their focus.
And while he is doing his big shoe dance on the tables in the spotlight, congress is doing his rich friends’ evil will in the back rooms.
The end result of this malevolent dog-and-pony show is patently obvious.
Unfortunately, in the 1870’s, the stupid people that Thomas Nast was enlightening had not yet achieved the profound levels of shoot-yourself-in-the-foot stupidity that Trump supporters have now mastered. Poor and middle-class Republicans, Texans, and other dim folk continue to take the Great Pumpkinhead at his word and believe every utterance of his mouth to be sacred gospel truth. I have had conservative friends arguing themselves into pretzel-knots to defend his policies and dastardly deeds.
But if cartoonists can’t succeed in shining sunlight on the bloodsucking vampiric old moneybags and kill him soon, his reign will become immortal and we are all gonna die.
Seriously. We stand at the end of a long chain of greedy b*st*rds raping and pillaging the environment for profit and not caring about the impact of their actions. We are dooming the planet to environmental collapse because the orange-faced name-stamper cares more about short-term profits for himself and his friends than he does about whether or no his own grandchildren will have water to drink, air to breath, and a place to live cool enough that metal doesn’t melt in the sunshine.
So, I hate to be a double-trouble downer about the whole thing, but the truth is if we are depending on cartoonists and humorists to save the world, we are in trouble. It is not working the way it did in Nast’s day. Cartoonists are doing their lampooning and doing it well. But more is needed. And if we don’t get that something more soon, then (to incorrectly paraphrase and misquote T.S. Eliot), “This is the way the world ends… Not with a whimper but a bang!”