Saturday, June 10, 2023

Remembering the Revrunt Pat

I had another Graphical History post all set to publish today; but if those cartoons could wait 100 years, they can wait another week. For all the material he has provided me over the years, Pat Robertson deserves his cartoon obituary here.

in UW-Parkside Ranger, Somers Wis., August, 1986

By the way, Mike Peterson noted approvingly that the angel in the cartoon I posted yesterday was Black. Now, whatever his other sins, I have no reason to believe that Robertson was racist. As the above cartoon may remind some of you, when he was publicly praying to God in 1986 whether he should run for president, his co-host Ben Kinchlow was Black.

By the same token (if you'll pardon the expression), my point in the above cartoon was not so much about the idea of Robertson running as Second Banana to a Black man, as it was that Robertson and Jackson were two men of the cloth who agreed on absolutely nothing other than the name of their Lord and Savior.

in UW-Parkside Ranger, Somers Wis., Feb. 4, 1988

Well, that and wanting to run for President. (With or without God's blessing.)

Jackson was able to hang on in the 1988 presidential race longer than Robertson, but I would suggest that both had a greater influence on their respective political party than most of the other politicians in my cartoon.

Besides, Jackson had his Rainbow Coalition to keep himself busy, and Robertson his 700 Club.

Q Syndicate, Sept. 2001

Then came 9/11, and a dastardly, unforgivable exchange between Robertson and fellow televangelist Jerry Falwell on Robertson's TV show two days later.

It was Falwell who blamed the deadly terrorist attack on "the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and lesbians," but it was Robertson who answered, "I totally concur."

Q Syndicate, 2010

Robertson's flock kept sending in their fleece no matter how inflammatory the rest of us found his repeated attributing every disaster that befell anyone in the country to God being pissed at lesbians and gays. Thus Robertson's Club marked its 50th anniversary in 2010, and so did I.  

Q Syndicate, August 2011

As his own editor, Robertson perhaps realized that he was saying a lot of silly things on his show. Not all of them were as hurtful as the 9/11 diatribe:

"Ladies and gentlemen I don’t want to get weird on this so please take it for what it’s worth. But it seems to me the Washington Monument is a symbol of America’s power, it has been the symbol of our great nation, we look at that monument and say this is one nation under God. Now there’s a crack in it, there’s a crack in it and it’s closed up. Is that a sign from the Lord? Is that something that has significance or is it just result of an earthquake? You judge, but I just want to bring that to your attention. It seems to me symbolic. When Jesus was crucified and when he died the curtain in the Temple was rent from top to bottom and there was a tear and it was extremely symbolic, is this symbolic? You judge."

Or perhaps the Washington Monument was over 150 years old. You decide. 

Q Syndicate, Sept., 2013

Others were less benign.

Prior to yesterday, my last Robertson cartoon was about him fulminating against gays' and lesbians' influence on American academia.

Q Syndicate, April 2017

“We have given the ground to a small minority,” he said. “You figure, lesbians, one percent of the population; homosexuals, two percent of the population. That’s all. That’s statistically all. But they have dominated — dominated the media, they’ve dominated the cultural shift and they have infiltrated the major universities. It’s just unbelievable what’s being done. A tiny, tiny minority makes a huge difference. The majority — it’s time it wakes up.”

Robertson may be gone, but we still have DeSantis, Abbott, Pence, and the rest of the lot who have declared war on intellectuals, science, philosophy, art, literature, history, and compassion.

Not to mention the lesbians and gays and, of course, the transgender menace.

Friday, June 9, 2023

Q Toon: Pat's Just In Time!

The passing of antigay televangelist Pat Robertson this week immediately occasioned a flurry of cartoons of him alternately at the Pearly Gates or inside the Gates of Hell.

In spite of my Christian faith, I'm not so sure I fully believe in an afterlife. Eternal life is a formidable concept to grasp. 

We sing in Amazing Grace that even after an eternity, "we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we'd first begun"; still going to choir practice day after day after day umpteen decillion millennia after the sun has gone nova, Andromeda has crashed into our galaxy, the whole universe has dissolved, and the last subatomic particle has completely decayed, will be awfully depressing to the many Christians who don't care to join their church choir today.

Nevertheless, I do believe that if one believes in the Bible at all, one ought to take John 20:23 seriously; so I give you the Celestial Elevator.

You may decide for yourself which direction it is headed.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Ask Your Governor If It's Right For You

Much of the debate over Florida's new anti-transgender legislation involved their prohibition of transition treatment for youth. Now that those Republican bills have been signed into law, Floridians are discovering that they attack adults' health care, too

Lucas, 26, lost his access to treatment when the Orlando clinic that prescribed him hormone replacement therapy stopped providing gender-affirming care altogether. The couple also worries about staying in a state that this year enacted several other bills targeting the LGBTQ+ community. ...

The new law that bans gender-affirming care for minors also mandates that adult patients seeking trans health care sign an informed consent form. It also requires a physician to oversee any health care related to transitioning, and for people to see that doctor in person. Those rules have proven particularly onerous because many people received care from nurse practitioners and used telehealth. The law also made it a crime to violate the new requirements.

Another new law that allows doctors and pharmacists to refuse to treat transgender people further limits their options. ...

At least 19 states have now enacted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors. But restrictions on adults haven't been part of the conversation in most places. Missouri’s attorney general tried to impose a rule in that state, but it was pulled back.

Florida is “the proving ground of what they can get away with,” Dunn said. [Lana Dunn, chief operating officer of SPEKTRUM Health Inc.]

The increased burden on transgender adults is not a bug of the new laws, but a feature. 

For the moment, a federal court has issued an injunction against the part of the law prohibiting the prescription of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to minors; but DeSantis's Florida is sure to appeal the case all the way to the Republican-stacked Supreme Court. Once Alito, Thomas, and the Trumply Trio have overruled Judge Robert Hinkle, carbon copies of the Florida law are sure to be rushed through other red state legislatures like the flu in a kindergarten.

This is only one front in the right-wingers' full-bore assault on the LGBTQ+ community, so I expect more and worse to come as they test "what they can get away with."

P.S.: Any guesses as to which person around that breakfast table might be transgender?

Monday, June 5, 2023

This Week's Sneak Peek

Breakfast! It's the most important meal of the day.

But you wouldn't invite the boss over for it.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

The Great Northern Migration

The 1920's were a high-water mark for conservative movements in the U.S.A., and that includes the Ku Klux Klan.

"The South Will Soon Be Demanding Restriction of Migration of Its Labor" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, May 10, 1923

The differential in wages was certainly a contributing factor, but Klan activity in the South, where it had thoroughly permeated local and state government and law enforcement, was a significant impetus compelling the Great Migration of Black Americans north. Contrary to John McCutcheon's cartoon, southern governments do not appear to have been alarmed by the exodus. Race-based and church groups up north, on the other hand, often had their hands full dealing with the newcomers.

Hauling livestock and whatever else they could from their farms, Blacks arrived at Penn Station every weekend. The new arrivals faced many of the same attitudes repeated in the "immigration crisis" of today (yet were not bused back south to Florida or Texas). 

Crusader News Service quoted a New York City spokesperson for Travelers Aid Society on June 20, 1923:

"It is argued that we get the bad element, the undesirables. This is true only relatively. We get some good and we get some bad. The good we get need a chance and opportunity if they are to remain good. The bad must have a chance, an opportunity, some instructions, some help if they are to become good.

"Before we hasten to discourage the brother whose flight from the South is just a little later than our own, let us give him a chance, a man's chance. Strangers are suspicious of other strangers, and naturally so. It is our duty to offer the welcome, and they will accept it in the spirit given.

"We have little reason to point out their faults, their awkwardness, their crude customs, their revolvers, and their lack of decorum, until we are sure they have been taught by us in all the things known to our community life."

Crusader News Service didn't identify that spokesperson, but I think you can probably guess the color of his or her skin.

Migrants north arrived to find that the Klan was already here. The Klan became an issue in the mayoral contest in Minneapolis in the spring of 1923, after their local publication there, The Voice of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, published allegations against incumbent Mayor, George Leach.

"Going South" by Wilfred Canan in Minneapolis Daily Star May 19, 1923

The Voice had published an accusation by one Gladys Kennedy that Mayor Leach had visited her gambling house for "wild parties" and had carried on an affair with her. Leach fought back, taking five Klan members to court. They included Klan "Exalted Cyclops" Roy H. Miner, who was running against Leach for mayor, editor and publisher of Hennepin County Enterprise George Silk, and suspended deputy sheriff Thomas Sullivan.

In May, a Minneapolis jury found the five guilty of libel. Kennedy recanted her allegations, but she and Miner were sentenced to 90 days at a workhouse. Silk and Sullivan received 60-day sentences; and Shirley Reichert, a University of Minnesota student who as a notary public received the Kennedy affidavit, was fined $50.

"The Usurper" by William F. Canan in Minneapolis Daily Star, June 9, 1923

Miner withdrew from the mayoral race. In June, the Minneapolis Daily Star reported that the mayoral candidate replacing Miner, State Senator William A. Campbell, was under investigation for being a leader in the Minnesota Klan. Campbell had supposedly written a number of articles for the Voice alleging malfeasance by various city council members.

Leach would be reelected by a hefty margin.

"Tearing Off the Sheet" by Rollin Kirby in New York World, ca. May 29, 1923

In New York and New Jersey, the Klan staged mass protests against an amendment proposed by State Senator (later Mayor of New York City) Jimmy Walker to New York's Civil Rights Law compelling unmasking of KKK members. 

Signed into law by Governor Al Smith, the Walker Amendment didn't mention the Klan by name, instead requiring "every existing corporation and every existing unincorporated association having a membership of 20 or more person, which incorporation or association requires an oath as a prerequisite or precondition of membership, other than a labor union or a benevolent order mentioned in the Benevolent Orders Law... [to] file with the Secretary of State a sworn copy of its constitution, by-laws, rules, regulations, and oath of membership, together with a roster of its membership and list of its officers for the current year."

New York Daily News, May 28, 1923

The New York Daily News reported that 8,000 klansmen gathered at Eastport, Long Island; the newspaper's photographers were at a simultaneous rally in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey. Further demonstrations were reported in Syracuse, Buffalo, Schenectady, and Binghamton.

"Civilization, 1923" by Nelson Harding in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 31, 1923

A hooded speaker identified as the King Kleagle swore to the Pompton Lakes mob, "Al Smith by signing that bill barred himself forever from the presidency of the United States." 

Given that Smith was Roman Catholic by faith, the Klan was already predisposed against his presidential aspirations. By the time he was the Democratic nominee in 1928, the Klan's "whispering campaign" attacking him was well-established.

Klan opposition would have nothing to do with Mayor Walker's eventual downfall, however.

Constitutionality of the Walker Law would ultimately be upheld by the New York and United States Supreme Courts in a case brought by Buffalo Klansman George C. Bryant, who argued that it violated the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution. 

In the U.S. Supreme Court's decision, Justice Willis Van Devanter wrote the Walker Law could legally single out the Klan, given that

"it was conducting a crusade against Catholics, Jews, and negroes, and stimulating hurtful religious and race prejudices; that it was striving for political power, and assuming a sort of guardianship over the administration of local, state, and national affairs, and that at times it was taking into its own hands the punishment of what some of its members conceived to be crimes.
"We think it plain that the action of the courts below in holding that there was a real and substantial basis for the distinction made between the two sets of associations or orders was right, and should not be disturbed."

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Q Toon: Sense and Sensitivity

For the sin of displaying LGBTQ+ Pride merchandise, Target Stores have become the latest casualty in the Rabid Right's Kancel Kulture Kampaign.

Target announced earlier this week that the company was removing some LGBTQ-themed items from shelves and moving displays intended to honor Pride Month to the back of the store in response to a public backlash from the right. But what happened at Target goes far beyond just some people calling for a boycott.

As Target explained in a statement, some customers had knocked down Pride displays at stores while others outraged by Pride-themed merchandise angrily approached workers as well as posted threatening videos on social media. Target has been celebrating Pride Month for more than a decade, but as the company noted, “since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and wellbeing while at work.”

And to think that only thirteen years ago, Target was funding those antigay ingrates!

Right-wingers, including Republican office holders and presidential candidates, are openly working to make anything LGBTQ+ "toxic," and they won't stop with books and rainbow tees. Or who appears on a beer can. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been bogged down in a losing battle against the lawyers of Disney World, one of the largest and most prominent employers and tourist attractions in his home state, and why? Were they a menace to public health and safety? Were they sucking money out of the state treasury? No, it was because Disney Inc. dared to criticize his "Don't Say Gay" law. 

So the DeSantis and the Florida legislature went on the warpath against Disney with a single-minded fury, only to end up looking like Kendall Roy sitting at the end of the pier.

Disney, it turns out, has better lawyers than DeSantis and his entire legislature put together.

And a stiffer spine than the folks at Budweiser and Target.


Tuesday, May 30, 2023

This Week's Sneak Peek

Thank you to Mike Peterson for linking to yesterday's historical post! 

Now, with the past as prologue: