So, I had had high hopes for blogging this year, here and on Thark, and even on TNG. I have a science fiction anthology I was going to blog my way through, some Hawaiian comics I need to review, an obscure 70s TV movie to reminisce about, a restaurant mascot to deconstruct, and a bunch of miscellaneous images to share. But of course, all that was planned before the administration of Dolt 45 became a reality and we were suddenly faced with a daily cocktail of intolerance, incompetence, and greed.
It's hard to blog about comics when you feel like we are barely slowing down the slide to authoritarianism.
I mean, we've had politicians aplenty who have skirted the law, cut corners, shaded the truth, and otherwise misbehaved, but never before have we seen an executive who not only breaks rules, but seems to ignore their existence completely, along with any other facts that are inconvenient to his will. Even prior miscreants accepted that rule of law was the way this country worked; I am not sure the current Executive Branch has that same acceptance. Everyone in the White House from the top down seems to be either ignorant or contemptuous of the system of checks and balance: when the court disagrees, it is a "so-called judge" who made the ruling; the press is the "opposition party".
Eighteen executive orders in three weeks, was it? The entire administration so far has been nothing but a series of misguided, mean-spirited, and likely unconstitutional commands and instructions to be cruel instead of kind, divisive instead of inclusive, dictatorial instead of collaborative.
The Democratic party, with few exceptions, has rolled over and is trying to pretend this is business as usual. After eight years of Republican obstructionism, Democrats still seem to think that somehow they can find middle ground with the GOP. Despite a catastrophically unsuccessful election, the DNC seems intent to stay the course and keep the status quo, ignoring all the young and independent and disaffected voters who could be their new, active, vocal base. All it would take is a rejection of neoliberalism and a return to New Deal values.
But without an opposition party that puts up any opposition, it has been left to us, the people, to provide the resistance. Marches every week, every day, in cities across America; phone calls and postcards and emails keeping the pressure on politicians to do the right things; donations to the ACLU and groups supporting journalism, as it seems that the free press is under attack along with our human rights and lawyers may be our only line of defense. It's activisim, and it's the right thing to do, and it's exhausting.
Andrew Sullivan, writing in New York magazine, captured this feeling:
One of the great achievements of free society in a stable democracy is that many people, for much of the time, need not think about politics at all. The president of a free country may dominate the news cycle many days — but he is not omnipresent — and because we live under the rule of law, we can afford to turn the news off at times. A free society means being free of those who rule over you — to do the things you care about, your passions, your pastimes, your loves — to exult in that blessed space where politics doesn’t intervene. In that sense, it seems to me, we already live in a country with markedly less freedom than we did a month ago.This is what I am talking about. It's hard to write about comics when you feel like we are barely slowing down the slide to authoritarianism.
But we must stay active and keep pressing. Some of us work harder than others: the water protectors camping at Standing Rock, the pro-bono lawyers operating on airport floors, the refugees trying to stay in the shadows or risk being be sent back to hell. It's the least we can do to continue to march, and call, and write, and donate, every week, every day, in cities all across America.
But, dammit, we shouldn't have to.
But, dammit, we will.
You might just have to wait a little longer for that funny story about the new Dungeons & Dragons campaign.