Tom Tomorrow

The Donald Trump Show (Burning Sensation)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump departs from a campaign event at Trump Doral golf course in Miami, Florida, 27 July 2016. (Photo: Reuters/Carlo Allegri)

“The political establishments of both parties brought about this war. Are they willing to swallow their pride to end it or will Trump have to do to the Beltway Ivory Tower what Sherman did to Atlanta?”

Joseph R. Murray, II

We might indeed acknowledge uncertainty as to why the thought of Donald Trump’s queer outreach administrator appealing to the burning of Atlanta with all the grace of a domestic abuser making excuses for himself might seem remotely funny.

“You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will,” General William Tecumseh Sherman wrote to Atlanta’s officials as he moved forward with plans to evacuate and burn the city. “War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out.”

Detail of 'This Modern World' by Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos, 15 August 2016.Less than three months before the presidential election, the political establishment and media elites are facing the “curses and malediction” of war of their own making. After years of being used and abused, the Silent Majority they muzzled is rising up and its voice is Republican nominee Donald Trump.

There is no doubt the protectors of the status quo see a threat in Trump. Why else does the media hang on Trump’s every word and pounce whenever they get a whiff of a salacious scent, no matter how faint? Why else has the establishment professed that Trump must change the very formula that resulted in him trouncing multiple Republican rivals―many of whom were thought to be the crème de la crème of Republican politicians?

The answer? Trump is winning this war to restore the Silent Majority and his victory means the pay for play power structure in Washington―enjoyed by both Democrats and Republicans alike―is about to come crashing down.

Maybe it has something to do with the vein-popping apoplexy about what reads like the embittered triumphal confession of defeat, as if it is all of the third week in August and already the time has come to start accounting for what pass as blessings or redemption amid the devastation of failure.

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Image note: Top ― Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump departs from a campaign event at Trump Doral golf course in Miami, Florida, 27 July 2016. (Photo: Reuters/Carlo Allegri) Right ― Detail of This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos, 15 August 2016.

Murray II, Joseph R. “Trump’s recruitment of Bannon means war and everyone knows it”. The Hill. 19 August 2016.

The Donald Trump National Convention (Sounds About Right)

Donald Trump speaks to South Carolina voters in North Charleston, 19 February 2016. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The lede from Jonathan Swan of The Hill might describe (ahem!) merely one small facet of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland―

A top donor raising money for Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee says he has resigned in disgust after the party muscled through a vote on the convention floor that squashed the “Free the Delegates” movement.

―but still, it seems significant of, well, at the very least, something. And maybe that sounds vague, but this is the conundrum:

Gary Emineth, the former North Dakota GOP chairman who joined the Trump-RNC joint finance committee earlier month, says he was disgusted by the floor vote and immediately texted his resignation to Priebus.

Emineth says he’s furious the campaign and RNC worked in tandem to keep delegates from voting their conscience.

Detail of 'This Modern World' by Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos, 18 July 2016.“I was on the Trump finance committee and I just resigned because that bully tactic is absurd,” Emineth said. “I just texted them right now. Why can’t the people be heard? I’ve been texting Reince for 10 minutes. He said we didn’t have the votes. We had 10, 11 states. They peeled people back. They were calling delegations asking people to step off the committee. You don’t do this in America. You do this in other countries.”

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The Donald Trump Show (Boffo)

Donald Trump awaits his introduction at the 2005 launch of Trump University. (Detail of photo by Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press.)

Again we hear the refrain wondering whether presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has finally gone too far. The answer, of course, is invested in who marks the threshold, and in the end voters have the final word, or so to speak. GOP consultant and fierce Trump critic Rick Wilson appears quite correct when he says a leaked conference call tells us the Trump Univesity lawsuit “really bothers” his party’s apparent nominee. And while Wilson’s critique that “there is no campaign” actually sounds about right under the circumstances―hint: more than the conference call, perhaps the msnbc article with the straightforward title, “Donald Trump does not have a campaign”, explains the problem better― NYT deputy Washington editor Jon Weisman is even more blunt: “The leaks in this boffo @bpolitics piece,” he tweets, “show @RealDonaldTrump doesn’t understand he’s playing in the majors now.”

And boffo fits well enough; the Bloomberg Politics piece describes a Monday conference call between Mr. Trump and prominent supporters:

An embattled Donald Trump urgently rallied his most visible supporters to defend his attacks on a federal judge’s Mexican ancestry during a conference call on Monday in which he ordered them to question the judge’s credibility and impugn reporters as racists.

Which sounds about right, all things considered, except that’s when things start to go off the rails:

When former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer interrupted the discussion to inform Trump that his own campaign had asked surrogates to stop talking about the lawsuit in an e-mail on Sunday, Trump repeatedly demanded to know who sent the memo, and immediately overruled his staff.

“Take that order and throw it the hell out,” Trump said.

Told the memo was sent by Erica Freeman, a staffer who circulates information to surrogates, Trump said he didn’t know her. He openly questioned how the campaign could defend itself if supporters weren’t allowed to talk.

“Are there any other stupid letters that were sent to you folks?” Trump said. “That’s one of the reasons I want to have this call, because you guys are getting sometimes stupid information from people that aren’t so smart.”

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Fifteen Minutes, and Then Some

Detail of 'This Modern World' by Tom Tomorrow, 6 April 2015, via Daily Kos Comics.

Cynicism can be difficult.

Well, okay: Cyncism can be difficult for a person with a conscience.

Not long ago there emerged in my circles a notion that bakers and florists refusing to serve gay weddings “were probably going under before”, a note that prompted a brief and general reflection at the time: “blaming the government and calling yourself a victim is one way to appeal to the fifteen minutes”, and, “It seems like almost a side note, but watch how showbiz and the fifteen minutes become so many Americans’ backup plans”. It really is a cyncial outlook, except reality keeps suggesting it; funds raised on behalf of picking a fight with gay people reinforce the notion that “a stunt like this would seem more plausible to the actors because they can reasonably hope for a crowdsourced bailout”.

That seems to be where this is all going. Over at Huffington Post, Cavan Sieczkowski reports on the fundraising response to over $840,000 given in support of an Indiana pizzeria that picked a fight, cried that they were being bullied, and shut down their business; it’s been a profitable “fifteen minutes” for the O’Connor family. And Dominique Mosbergen reports on Baronelle Stutzman, a bigot from Richland, Washington, who has collected $94,000 in donations with a similar publicity stunt.

Meanwhile, also via HuffPo, a bit of good news: At least the courts can still tell the difference.

Or, as Curtis M. Wong brings word that Marjorie Silva did not discriminate against William Jack when she refused to decorate a cake with “derogatory language and imagery”.

It is really easy to be cynical toward these stunts posing alleged acts of conscience as an appeal to crowdsourcing and the proverbial fifteen minutes of fame. To the other, we hear a lot from conservatives about “sincere beliefs”, so it’s not entirely fair to be so condemning in our assessments; after all, there remains a strong possibility that people like the O’Connors and Ms. Stutzman really are that stupid.

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Image note: Detail of This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow, 6 April 2015, via Daily Kos Comics.

Sieczkowski, Cavan. “That Anti-Gay Indiana Pizzeria That Received $840,000? This ‘Pizza’ Supports The LGBT Community.” The Huffington Post. 5 April 2015.

Mosbergen, Dominique. “Supporters Raise More Than $94,000 For Florist Who Refused To Sell Flowers For Same-Sex Wedding”. The Huffington Post. 6 April 2015.

Wong, Curtis M. “Colorado’s Azucar Bakery Did Not Discriminate By Refusing To Bake Anti-Gay Cakes, Court Rules”. The Huffington Post. 6 April 2015.

Prognostication

Detail of 'This Modern World' by Tom Tomorrow, 23 March 2015, via Daily Kos Comics.You know, with all the diversity in the right-wing tinfoil and wingnut sectors, it is sometimes hard to choose. Then again, misogyny tends to stand out. Trump talks to plot a place in politics; Lindsey Graham belabors Benghazi; a sense of inevitability about a Bush-Clinton grudge match has a wearying effect even as the ponies register for the sideshow.

But misogyny perches on a precarious pedestal. The 2012 debacle caught so many off guard, yet the signs were all there. The Tea Party Revolution set out to remake the House in its own image, trying to distinguish between statutory and other forms of rape. Even Ron Paul had his go, waxing furiously about “honest” rape, but perhaps we gave him a pass for being from Texas, or simply for being Ron Paul. Mitt Romney stumbled over Blunt-Rubio, and Republicans dragged birth control back into controversy.

And this year everyone looks to Hillary Clinton, the one person in Washington who should be sick and tired of State of the Union Addresses, having attended some twenty of them as First Lady, United States Senator, and Secretary of State. If men have reason to fret about their penises, they ought not wag them about as the glass ceiling shatters.

Misogyny really could be the show. As Republicans hope to lipstick wage inequality (Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-TN07) and women’s health (Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-NC05), compel rape and trafficking survivors to bear assailants’ children, and, well, run a presidential election against a female candidate, don’t ignore this impish hatred.

No, seriously, at this point, who will be the least bad on women’s rights? Jeb Bush? Perhaps the most alarming aspect of that suggestion is that even having seen just how poorly Mitt Romney’s campaign went over, we might wonder how well Jeb will or won’t handle these issues. Certes he can’t be as bad as Romney was on Blunt-Rubio; then again, after Cory Gardner’s ascension to the Senate, we might have reason to wonder if it really matters one way or another. They are, in the end, Republicans.

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Tomorrow, Tom. “A sneak peek”. This Modern World. Daily Kos. 23 March 2015.

Painful

Er … um … ouch:

Tom Tomorrow: "Go read David Brooks' column in the NYT this morning and tell me that's not just one giant subtweet from a man going through a divorce." (via Twitter, 3 March 2015)

And, well, yeah, about that.

So much of life is about leave-taking: moving from home to college, from love to love, from city to city and from life stage to life stage.

David Brooks of The New York TimesIn earlier times, leaving was defined by distance, but now it is defined by silence. Everybody everywhere is just a text away, a phone call away. Relationships are often defined by the frequency and intensity of communication between two people.

The person moving on and changing a relationship no longer makes a one-time choice to physically go to another town. He makes a series of minute-by-minute decisions to not text, to not email or call, to turn intense communication into sporadic conversation or no communication. His name was once constant on his friend’s phone screen, but now it is rare and the void is a wound.

(Brooks)

And so on.

Anyway. Yeah. About that.

Life transitions are.

Still, though. Ouch.

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Tomorrow, Tom. “Go read David Brooks’ column in the NYT this morning and tell me that’s not just one giant subtweet from a man going through a divorce”. Twitter. 3 March 2015.

Brooks, David. “Leaving and Cleaving”. The New York Times. 3 March 2015.

Offensive, Maybe, In Which Case Just Deal With It

Detail of 'This Modern World' by Tom Tomorrow, 1 December 2014, via Daily Kos Comics.I would like, if I may, to ask that you imagine a simple scene. Everyday Americana. A parking lot, for instance.

There is nothing unusual about parking lots in these United States. Indeed, we hear of them here, there, and everywhere, along roadsides and outside of stores. Even gun stores, like this one. And in this particular parking lot there is a car. And in this car is a seven year-old boy.

At least, he was a seven year-old boy.

Until his father shot him to death, allegedly by accident through negiligence, with a handgun illegally in his possession.

And you know, we’re not going to charge that guy with any crime. He’s suffered enough.

Yes, really. Same country as the one where they shoot black men to death for looking like black men scary, a word that here means “not white enough”.

It’s the best criminal defense in the history of America: I swear in good faith I thought he’s a dirty nigger come’a kill me! And, you know, dead guy’s black, so what spiked grand jury is going to indict?

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Tomorrow, Tom. “Black and White”. This Modern World. Daily Kos Comics. 1 December 2014.

“What Happened in Ferguson?” The New York Times. 25 November 2014.

A Glimpse Ahead to Yesterday

Detail of 'This Modern World' by Tom Tomorrow, 24 November 2014, via Daily Kos Comics.Every once in a while, it occurs to me to wonder about what seems a recurring fault in futurist speculation, and that is the tendency to translate what other people might think or feel in terms of what we see. It works the same way when looking at history; we can rest assured the Founding Fathers were not consciously calculating just how evil they could be while taking the piss in the form of a Three-Fifths “compromise”.

And then I remind myself that, in the end, the consideration is of setups and punch lines in comic strips, which takes some of the sting out of it.

Detail of 'Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal' by Zach Weiner, 24 November 2014.But then one might point out that it is the twenty-first century, and our social mores often seem tethered to the 1950s. You know, in the glorious world of the future, will there really be a journalistic cottage industry dedicated to exposing the sex lives of celebrities? Of course there will.

And so on.

It is easy enough to talk oneself out of hope.

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Tomorrow, Tom. This Modern World. Daily Kos Comics. 24 November 2014.

Weiner, Zach. Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. 24 November 2014.

A Matter of Scale and Perspective

Detail of Tom Tomorrow, 'This Modern World', 3 November 2014 (via Daily Kos)A hollow wind; the light-footed dance of tumbleweeds across a dusty street.

Yes, one of those moments.

Detail of Tom Tomorrow, This Modern World, 3 November 2014 (via Daily Kos).

Your Burden

Detail of Tom Tomorrow, <em>This Modern World</em>, 27 October 2014. (via DailyKos)While it is quite easy to grow weary of the sickness we might perceive permeating this modern world around us, the truth is this is the only world we have. We’re stuck with it, at least until we decide to do something about the problem. Life goes on. Well, for the living. That part is important to note.