Ah, now this is what good symbolic cartooning is all about: An idea which is very simple and easily graspable on the surface, but has far greater depth of meaning for those already familiar with the cultural reference or willing to do a little digging.
First, the main topic of this cartoon is the vague budget proposed by the Romney/Ryan campaign, which includes cutting taxes in a manner that disproportionately favors the wealthy, and further ballooning defense spending to even more comically-enormous levels.
In an appearance on Fox News earlier this week, Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan was asked to explain how this could be done without increasing the national debt by about $5 trillion, as President Obama argues it’d cost. Ryan repeatedly refused to answer the question, at one point saying it would “take too long to go through all the math.”
You’d think the GOP’s so-called “intellectual” would be prepared for something like this, seeing as former President Bill Clinton already brought up the “arithmetic” of the Romney/Ryan budget proposals several weeks ago at the Democratic National Convention. Based on his response, we can assume at least one of two things: Either Paul Ryan is lying, or the modern Republican standard of intellectualism is even lower than we thought.
The gag I’m using to comment on this topic is a reference many will probably recognize from High School lit; the mathematically illogical expression “2+2=5,” used by George Orwell to explain the concepts of politically-expedient denial of reality and “doublethink” in his novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four.
While Orwell popularized this expression, it has roots in the fascist ideologies of Stalinism and Nazism, with Nazi Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring having once declared, “If the Führer wants it, two and two makes five!”
The main idea is submission to known falsehoods as facts if a party line or ruling class commands it, even to the point of individual self-destruction, as Orwell explicitly underscored in Nineteen Eighty-Four with the line, “You do not exist.”
For additional irony, remember that the Republican Party’s M.O., as designed by Karl Rove, includes accusing its opponents of its own weaknesses while attacking their strengths, such as Mitt Romney’s continued assertion that Obama is weak on national defense. Let’s also recall that, up until recently, one of the GOP’s main cheerleaders was a guy who compares his enemies to Nazis almost as frequently as most people use the letter E!
I should conclude this post by thanking everyone who donated to help renew the lease on this website’s domain name following my pleas last week. I wanted to let all of you know that it’s been taken care of.
But, please don’t let that stop you from continuing to help me out by subsidizing things like art supplies, online advertising, or (hopefully someday) some con appearances. I’m still not really carried anyplace outside of this website, except for the odd commission here and there, so the only way I get paid for my work is through your donations!