Sunday, January 24, 2016

All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten

Thirty years ago, Robert Fulghum published the delightful book that is listed above. It is a fairly short book (219 pages) that reminds us that all those things that we now reminisce about as adults are actually more important that we give them credit for. (Yes, the 1950’s were a pretty good time to be a kid).

Although I agree with the author’s basic premise, I could also add that all that I really need to know I learned from the comics.

When I was a kid, my favorite part of the paper was the comic strips, and that is still true today. The majority of them make us laugh or smile, but a select few also make us think.

Editorial cartoons have existed since the early part of the 18the century, when William Hogarth first published them in England. Despite rumors to the contrary, he did NOT live in Hogwart’s castle.

On occasion, the comic strip page would include a strip that included stories that might as well be called an editorial cartoon. The Pogo comic strip (written by Walt Kelly) first appeared in 1948, and was published until 1975 (2 years after Kelly’s death). Kelly’s best known strip included the phrase shown at the link below

Five years before Pogo faded away into history, Garry Trudeau published the first Doonesbuy cartoon, and it has been running ever since. Over the years, Trudeau has won numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize foe Editorial Cartooning in 1975. Although the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartoon has been awarded since 1922, Trudeau’s award in 1975 was the first time that the Prize was given to a strip comic rather than to a comic that was printed on the editorial page. Trudeau was also nominated for the same prize in 1990, 2004, and 2005.

When we lived in the Chicago area, I thoroughly enjoyed the editorial cartoons of Jeff McNally, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartoon in 1972, 1978, and 1985. Now that we live in Arizona, I enjoy the cartoons of Steve Benson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartoon in 1993, He was also nominated for the Prize in 1984, 1989, 1992, and 1994. He has also served as the President of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, and his cartoons have been collected in a number of books.

The editorial comic that he published in this morning’s Arizona Republic highlighted a political problem that happens far too often in our country.

Lead pipes, like the ones found in Flint, are fairly common in this country. Since replacing all those lead pipes would be expensive, cities add chemicals to the water flowing through them to prevent the plumbing from corroding and leaching lead and other dangerous metals into drinking water. In order to save money, the officials in Flint ( a predominantly poor and black city of 100,000 people that prospered for a number of years from its association with the automotive industry) didn’t do that, and they also committed serious errors at ever level of government.

Although Flint had been getting its water from Detroit, the city started drawing water from the Flint River in 2014. The REASON that Flint needed to save money is that Governor Rick Snyder pushed through a large corporate tax break in 2011, Like many Republican governors, he operates under the assumption that tax breaks to corporations stimulate economic activity, despite overwhelming evidence that they don’t.

Flint’s switch to a different water supply quickly led to the poisoning of drinking water for 30,000 households, which includes 10,000 children under the age of 6, who are especially vulnerable to the effects of lead. The problems in Flint, of course, will be solved, and by a very familiar source - the Democrats.

Cher recently donated 180,000 bottles of water to the city, but a more permanent solution came from a higher level, when President Obama (who 23,000,000 Republicans still think is a Muslim) recently signed an emergency declaration for the state of Michigan, which will clear the way for federal aid to help resolve the water crisis.

The situation in Flint proves, once again, that black lives DO matter, but you’ve never going to hear that from Donald Trump and the other members of the Republican clown car. Remember that fact the next time you vote.