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Category: Politics

Voters' Guide
Despite the ugliness of the current campaign season, I am still a fan of democracy. Sometimes the outcomes are less than ideal, but at least we have the hypothetical ability to change things if we need to. We all have a say, however small, in our own destinies.

That said, I think we can all agree that voting itself is a drag. The long lists of confusing propositions we are not qualified to judge, the slates of candidates for offices we didn’t even know existed, the perpetual conundrum of assessing which evils are lesser — all can leave us confused and disoriented. We have official publications to help us, complete with arguments for and against ballot propositions and statements from office seekers. We also have the recommendations of news outlets and the advice of friends and colleagues. Sadly this rainbow of wonderfully diverse opinions only makes our job harder. We need to simplify, not complexify.

So what is the thinking voter to do? Or, for that matter, people like us?

Well…it is my hope, with this writing, to streamline the decision-making process with a few simple rules of thumb. For starters, make absolutely sure that you do not read any of those official materials. They’re way too wordy, and there are no pictures at all. If these people really wanted to help you, they’d do it in twenty-five words or less and use a fun, accessible comic strip format.

These documents, however, are not completely useless. In fact, they will be vital to completing your task. Here’s the trick: cross your eyes slightly as you scan over them. This way, you will avoid contact with any of the fine grind baloney featured there while still remaining open to the truly important data: punctuation. As you let your unfocussed gaze roam over the text, look for anything unusual. Are there lots of capitals? How about multiple exclamation points? These are both signs of mental instability and moral decay, and the writers cannot be trusted. Make your choices accordingly.

Good. We’re already making progress. If there are still some decisions left to make, you might focus your eyes just a bit…long enough to see the names of the individuals or groups signing off on pro and con arguments. Look for any nonprofit that uses the word “tax” as part of its name. You can ignore their self-centered opinions. If you see any for-profit corporations, do the exact opposite of what they suggest. These entities may be “people” under the law and they may have almost-normal names like Phillip Morris or Owens Corning, but believe me they are not like you and me. Do not have them over to your house for dinner, and do not take their advice on public policy.

As you glance at the names of flesh-and-blood advocates for propositions — or of the candidates themselves — also take note of nicknames like “Hap” or “Bud” or “Skipper.” Not only are these people cluttering up the ballot with more superfluous punctuation, they are adopting an unseemly air of familiarity. Reject their advances. The republic will thank you.

These guideposts, I’ll wager, have gotten you pretty far along in your task. So far, I think, that you can leave the rest blank. Others will know what to do, I’m sure. Anyway, don’t worry. The founding fathers came up with a pretty nifty idea with democracy, but they never intended it to be this much of a pain in the ass.
Left, Right
If you want to know the difference between the Left and the Right, look no further than Hillary’s lungs. If those infected body parts belonged to Donald Trump, Infowars and the other right wing (what’s the word? Oh, yeah…) deplorables would be fomenting stories that he had been poisoned. By Hillary. Or Obama. Or George Soros and the Hollywood elite.

I will admit that the idea did occur to me that Hillary had been poisoned, but like a good leftie I first ran it through my stupid-o-meter to see if it made sense. The verdict: there’s no evidence for anything like that unless you’re a raving, hate-filled lunatic.

Nutjob conspiracy theorists do exist on the left, of course. I even know a few of them, including 9/11 Truthers and Bilderbergers. Their claims, like those on the right, depend more on suspicion than on actual evidence. The difference is that these theories do not find much fertile soil in the psychic farmland of liberal thought. The seeds take root, but they never bear much fruit.

Maybe it has something to do with the pH level on the left. Too acidic. Or maybe what fruit there is just doesn’t taste right. Whatever the reason, the wacky plotlines on the left never seem to go anywhere because not very many lefties change their behavior as a result of them. On the right they’re stockpiling guns, forming militias, beating up and sometimes killing their fellow citizens. These kinds of activities are much rarer on the left. Just sayin’.

The worst part is that the wacky right will actually vote for politicians who buy into their wild conjectures. Some of them even get elected. Maybe that’s why we’re experiencing such deplorable governance. I don’t know.

I hope that Hillary gets well soon, but I know that I won’t be so lucky. Seven weeks to go and I’ll be sick of it the whole way.
Hillary Dillary
Hillary dillary dock
Can the spouse run out the clock?
Trump sucks a ton
Will he go down?
Hickety tickety tock
100 Days Until Forever
We have just passed an important milestone in this year’s race for the White House: we are now inside the last hundred days before the election. You might receive this news with relief or with keen anticipation or with an icy sense of dread, but please try to keep your perspective. It is true that we are close to the end of this cycle, but remember that there are still fifteen hundred days left until the 2020 presidential election.

That’s how we do presidential politics in America these days: 24/7/365/1460. There is some governing, but it’s mostly nonstop campaigning. If you’re like me, you’re way tired of the current contest, so why don’t we forget it for a moment and jump forward into the next one?

Our first question: who will be running? Topping the list of certain contenders will be the irrepressible Ted Cruz. In fact, you can pretty much write in Ted until they finally drive a stake through his heart, because he’ll never, ever be elected.

The incumbent, whoever she/he is, will certainly be in it to shoot for a second term. We know this because Hillary doesn’t know when to quit, and Trump wouldn’t be able to resist the extra attention, the branding, or the possibility (however remote) that he might become President-for-life. If it is Trump, then you’ll see Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Mark Warner for the Dems and a tiny band of Republicans (if that party still exists) who never endorsed Donald Trump. If Hillary becomes our 45th president, we’ll see all those same Republicans, perhaps a few democratic socialists, and a whole slew of reality TV stars.

When it comes to issues, some of the old favorites will return. National security, income inequality, and hand size will be center stage. New topics will include tweet misspellings, the narcissism of dead war heroes, and treason. Simple human decency will not make the cut, nor will the imminent death of the planet.

Come to think of it, maybe this election isn’t so bad. We could, if we’re lucky, witness a major political party implode while its candidate gets set to explode. And it could happen on live TV!

Popcorn and rubber suits for everybody!
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No "new normal" for me, this shit ain't normal.
~ MS, Truckee