Monday, October 24, 2016

Participation Is Complicity

Choose The Form Of The Destructor

Bloom County; October, 1988 (© Berke Breathed)
HC: So I bet you're wasting your vote on Jill Stein.
DOG: [Affectless Stare]
HC: Seriously; are you gonna vote Stein?
DOG: I'm not voting.
HC: You're kidding.
DOG: No. My vote doesn't count, and I refuse to give the current electoral system and this election in particular any legitimacy. And even if this were an election between two different candidates, it wouldn't matter. I would've voted for Bernie, but even that would be misplaced nostalgia for Old Days that really never were.
HC: [Pause] But it's a historic election. The first woman President.
DOG: I'll manage to live with myself.
HC: Fuck you.
[I should mention: These conversations, between a True Believer Of The Cult Of She (HC), and myself (Dog), have actually happened in the depths of corporate America where I dwell, and are not entirely a parody of encounters between a Hillaryite Colleague and The Pjoepf at his Place O' Labor, as occasionally chronicled over at The Soul Of America.]

In the long-ago land of 1988, an impossible time before many of you were ever born, there was another Pestidential contest, between Blue-Blood Owner "Poppy" Bush (father of Greasy George, the Peevish Dullard; son of Prescott Bush, who reportedly supported an attempt to overthrow the U.S. government under that socialist, FDR), Vice-Pestident under Saint Ronald The Dim -- and Michael Dukakis, the much shorter and also stiff, less animated Governor of Massachusetts in the era before 'Der Mittster', Romney.

America's economy had been stuttering in that 1988.  There had been an actual double-dip Recession in 1981-83 under Saint Ronald (as the early waves of globalization began eliminating the steel industry, and moving manufacturing offshore). But Ronaldo El Magnifico, conqueror of Jamaica, performed that famous Voodoo Economics and made it all better.

Then, in 1987, the Iran-Contra Affair became public knowledge -- something Poppy had direct involvement in -- and later that year, the largest single drop in the U.S. stock market on October 19, 1987.  Saint Ronald could not run for a third term, and was tired. There were disquieting stories that he seemed... uh, different... distracted, and that Nancy was being kept closely in the loop on whatever Ronnie needed to do as Our Leader.

The 1988 election was a spirited contest, which resulted in Poppy rousing himself enough to say, "Read My Lips: No New Taxes", and Mike saying in response to a question that Americans want "Good Jobs At Good Wages".  Poppy was known as "The Wimp".  Mikey, much shorter, was known as "The Shrimp".

Except for the fact that the economy seemed to be tanking again, enthusiasm for the election seemed lackluster, manufactured. Many Americans were understandably confused at having to choose, for leadership of the American Ship O' State, between an old-money, ex-DCI at CIA, Skull-n-Boneser with some involvement in drugs-for-arms and Latin right-wing death squads, or a Governor whose greatest achievement appeared to be taking a short joy ride in a tank for the benefit of the press.

Berke Breathed, observer of the American scene, beloved humorist in the vein of Mark Twain and Will Rogers, but wielding a pen and brush (and way better than that patrician Yaleboy, Trudeau), was the author of a daily comic strip, Bloom County, which had a color Sunday supplement (you'll have to look up "daily comic strip" and "color Sunday supplement"; this was before graphic novels and Beyonce and Game Of Tones on DVR teevee).

In October, 1988, before the election, Breathed submitted (in one Dog's opinion) one of the classic humorous commentaries on voting in a Republic where we face Hobson's Choice ("[an allegedly] free choice in which only one thing is offered. Because a person may refuse to accept what is offered, the two options are taking it, or taking nothing"). I shouldn't have to explain how this relates to America's politics, if not Western politics in general.

(If I do, you are not paying attention and so will be surprised when someone suggests perhaps it's time to get rid of the Twenty-Second Amendment, and so enter, by stage Right, President Erwin Rexall. And I get to pee on your leg.)

Opus the Penguin goes to vote, and the result is -- well, obvious, as are all the connections you can see, and many we can't.  The result of participation in this mutant circus freakshow election cycle will be exactly the same -- and for myself, I can't go walking around with The Sign Of The Beast (my head covered in a wad of used green chewing gum) for all to see.

This was originally issued as a color Sunday comic, but no color version exists on the Intertubes that I could find; the amateurish attempt to add a bit of color is the best you can expect for a Dog who has to pick up crayons with his soft mouth parts, and all while at the Place O' Labor™.

(Clicky = Bigger, Happier. © 1988, 2014 Berke Breathed; Washington Post Co.)

MEHR, Mit Wir Vermissen Opus:
(Clicky = In Einem Augenblick, Ein Grosser Cartoon)