YES! JOIN FOR FREE!
Enter your address below to receive free email alerts when a new comic or a blog post is published:
You may unsubscribe easily at any time & your email will never be shared with anyone!
SHARE
FOLLOW
SEARCH
EAGANBLOG ARCHIVE
Explore the current collection.

Category: Politics

No Time for Thinking
Okay, the holidays are behind us now. As warm memories of family recede and the trappings of celebrations are put away until next year, this time in our lives would normally give way to sober reflection.

Normally, that is. This January, we just don’t have time for that stuff. We are on the cusp of what promises to be the most consequential year in our nation’s history. If you like politics, you are in for the thrill ride of a lifetime. If you don’t, you are about to enter Hell. Either way, our options for deep contemplation will be sorely limited. So hang on, citizen.

Most of the pieces are in place already, of course, and moving swiftly. The Articles of impeachment will be sent to the Senate next week. The Democratic field is pretty much set. Global warming is an indisputable fact…except to those with the power to do something about it. Putin has us by the ballot box. The rich are still getting richer and the poor are still getting poorer. And everyone is at least a little spooked.

So right out of the gate, we’ll be going full tilt in 2020. First up: the possible conviction of a U.S. President for high crimes and misdemeanors and his removal from office. It’s hard to imagine higher political stakes than that. And just to crank up the drama even higher, several contenders for the Democratic nomination will not only be taking on a high profile in that trial, but will be called upon to vote on the question. In addition to front runners Warren, Sanders, and Klobuchar, we’ll have Cory Booker and Michael Bennet, all doing one of the jobs they get paid to do —on national TV in prime time. Dropouts Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand will also be in the mix, no doubt itching to make a mark.

Assuming the Republicans stay true to form, however, the trial and verdict will go through the chamber at warp speed. While the outcome is all but assured, however, we’d be foolish to rule out the possibility that Something Entirely Unforeseen will take place. Such events, after all, are a common occurrence in our daily lives. The only question is whether or not they will affect the imagined outcome.

Even if nothing gets settled in the Senate, February will come anyway, and with it a flurry of votes by actual citizens. The Iowa caucuses arrive Feb. 3, followed by the New Hampshire primary Feb. 11, the Nevada caucuses Feb. 22, and the South Carolina primary Feb. 29.

Not hectic enough for you? If we don’t have a clear favorite by the end of February, we just might get one on March 3. That’s Super Tuesday, when 14 states, American Samoa, and Americans abroad all go to the polls on the Democratic side. That adds up to 1358 pledged delegates chosen on one day. If, after that, we still haven’t got anyone near the 960 needed to win on the first ballot at the convention — which could easily happen since nearly all those states allocate delegates proportionally — then things could really get hairy.

You can count me, by the way, as a vote for hairiness. I like the idea of the system flexing all its muscles here at this turning point in history. If it does get hairy, I can see 4 or 5 candidates still in the running by the time the convention rolls around on July 13. If we get to a third or fourth ballot and still don’t have a nominee, then anything could happen.

And the year would barely be half over! By that time, the number of unforeseen events will really be piling up, including those generated by Drump himself. There has even been talk of more Articles of Impeachment rolling off the House’s production line. And why not? The various court cases that have been grinding quietly along will surely free up more evidence of wrongdoing, and those revelations will have to be addressed, election or not.

Beyond that wild prospect, there will surely be some October surprises cooked up by contestants from both parties, and we can count on Putin turning up in a few headlines before November 3rd. Come November 4th, we’ll either be contending with a colossally sore loser who refuses to vacate the White House or a sore winner who has been taking names.

Either way, we won’t have time to pause and reflect. For that, let's set the timer for January, 2021. 2020 will have given us plenty to think about.
Dear Hillary
Dear Hillary:

It’s been good to see you back in the news again in the last few months. It seems like ages since the 2016 campaign (even though you-know-who can’t stop talking about it), and I’m glad you haven’t just gone into your shell. I was a little surprised, though, to hear your most recent comment that “many, many, many people” had been trying to convince you to run again.

That is a lot of manys. More than I would have thought, really, and it got me to thinking about our last conversation. I hope you didn’t misunderstand when I asked you if you would ever run again. That was more of a, you know, rhetorical question. I didn’t mean to imply that I actually wanted you to run. Honestly, Hillary, that was the furthest thing from my mind.

Also, I don’t know if you see Michael Bloomberg very often around New York, but if you run into him, please tell him for me that it’s not that I don’t trust rich people. It’s the money itself that can’t be trusted. All it ever seems to do is cause trouble for everyone.

Anyway, I just want to say I don’t regret voting for you in 2016. And I want to make sure that I don’t have another opportunity to regret voting for you. So let’s not push our luck, okay? If you were including me as one of the “many, many, many,” then I’m sorry for the mix-up. With that one qualification…

All the best,

Tim
Wrong and Wronger
I keep trying, but I keep failing. Whenever I think I’ve found the answer, it always turns out to be unsatisfying, always inadequate. I’m beginning to think there is no solution for this puzzle, at least not in this world.

What is it, I continue to ask myself, that keeps Trump supporters going? Why do they persist in believing in this guy? I have explored several possible explanations in this space. One relies on the separate universe theory. Under this construct, these people receive their “facts” from the opinion shows on Fox News and from various online sources, and therefore they come to different conclusions about the world than those of us who rely on more traditional sources of information.

Then there is the hypothesis that Trumpers are people who have an authoritarian mindset — that is, they want a strong figure to tell them the way things are and exactly what to think and do. There is also the thesis that these folks are just happy to have an excuse to be cruel and hateful. Simple tribalism is another suggested motive, one which postulates that people tend to divide themselves into teams and tend to root for their own team no matter how it plays the game. The list goes on, but nothing on that list is completely satisfying, so I just keep straining to make sense of the motivations of MAGA-heads.

Which brings me to this week’s conjecture. We start with the premise that nobody wants to admit they are wrong…or that they made a mistake of any kind. Such admissions are confessions of fallibility. We would much rather be thought of as reliable sources, perhaps even as founts of wisdom. The more we admit to mistakes, the further away we drift from the ideal. Nobody wants to do that.

Based strictly on my own observations, I would argue that those on the right of the political spectrum are much less apt to admit they are wrong. More often, they choose to double down on their faulty assertions and count that stubbornness as a strength. That may feel right, but such a proclivity merely piles more proof of fallibility on top of the original error. Those on the left, conversely, display a tendency to apologize even when they might be right. Instead of simply bending over backwards to be fair, they are sometimes willing to tie themselves in knots to get there.

When it comes to Trumpers, the stakes are even higher. After repeatedly doubling down, tripling down, quadrupling down on the demonstrably boneheaded positions of their leader, it’s even harder for them to admit their mistake. To concede that they may have erred in ever believing this guy — much less to have believed in him — would be a much heavier lift than the admission of one little mistake. It would amount to an admission that they were fools. Colossal fools. Mistakes, after all, can be overcome by merely owning up to them, and perhaps even learning from them. But foolhardiness…that is a permanent condition.

Trumpers, then, have come too far to turn back. Whatever got them to this place, whether it was tribalism or authoritarianism or meanness or plain old gullibility, they are now stuck with no place to go but forward — or downward, which is where this whole mess is heading.

Unfortunately for those of us who sometimes admit when we are wrong, the Trumpers will still be there when we get to the other side of this. And they will still be fools…unless I am very much mistaken.
What Oath?
I took my first vow when I was 14. It was my promise as a soon-to-be-confirmed member of the Catholic Church that I would abstain from alcohol until I turned 21. By the time I hit 15, I had already broken that vow.

I am not proud of having this mark on my record. I was young and at the very beginning of my hitch as a Soldier of Christ, but that is not really an excuse. I made a solemn commitment (to God personally, as I remember), and I wouldn’t blame people who might think that I am an untrustworthy weasel for breaking it. To those people I can only say that my record on vows has been very good since that first one.

I have a pretty good history with pledges, too. I do feel a little squirrelly when I “pledge allegiance to the flag” (it’s just a piece of cloth, after all), but I am still genuinely patriotic, even in these times of national shame — and that is the true essence of that pledge. My everyday promises hold up pretty well too (if you don’t mind my saying so), and I do take pride in keeping my word.

Which brings us to the subject of oaths. I’ve taken a few of those, as well. Two, at least — one on becoming a member of the State Bar of California, another when I was sworn in as a fresh-faced young District Attorney. Both of those oaths involved swearing to support the Constitution of the United States. Let me say plainly that I did then, and I still do. In fact, my belief in the Constitution and the rule of law remains central to all my thoughts about politics.

Oh, I have broken a few laws in my day, and some of those violations I am even proud of, but I never stopped believing in the primacy of the Constitution. I am guessing, however, that Mike Pompeo does not share my view. Nor, I would assume, do any of the lawyers and public officials in and around the Trump administration.

But let me focus briefly on Secretary of State Pompeo. He has taken a lot more oaths than I have. In addition to the solemn oath he took on being sworn in at State, he also graduated from West Point. He is a member of the Bar, and was, until recently, a member of Congress. All of those gigs require oaths to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. All the evidence isn’t in yet, but appears that Mike has violated every one of those oaths…repeatedly, and without a whit of regret.

What’s more, he is, by his own proclamation, a devout Christian. All of those oaths, then, were sworn to God. I wonder how he handles the possibility that he might burn in hell forever for backstabbing the Almighty.

That is for him to deal with. I resigned my commission as as Soldier of Christ long ago, so that aspect of my vow-breaking is no longer an issue. All I have left is the residual guilt over my broken word. I don’t think Pompeo has even that. Nor do any of these other pathetic enablers of the Felon-in-Chief, including the ultra-pathetic Lindsey Graham. Didn’t their oaths mean anything to them?

I feel a bit embarrassed to even ask that question. Do I reveal myself as the pathetic one here by clinging to my innocence about such matters? Maybe, but if cynicism about the rule of law is the alternative, then I have to decline that choice. Better to keep on living in a dream world where a promise is a promise, and where violators of solemn oaths will get what they deserve.

I’d like to think that those just rewards will at least come in the next life for those people. Sadly, I am no longer so innocent as to believe in divine justice. For me and for the rule of law, it’s now or never.
first  previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  next  last
image
Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon