I shared sketches of this cartoon with friends while developing it, as I often do, seeking their insights and suggestions on how the idea or the presentation could potentially be improved.
The main criticism made was that it was wrong to use Nancy Pelosi as a symbol of Democratic incompetence and collaboration with proto-fascists like Donald Trump and the Republican Party, because she’s already subject to numerous, viciously misogynistic attacks from the Right. This is why it’s important to maintain a clear distinction between valid critiques of a person’s job performance, and those which ignore the historical or modern advantages of privilege afforded to those who are:
This is not to say “all things being equal,” of course, because as implied above, they aren’t. That’s the heart of the problem with saying “All Lives Matter,” instead of “Black Lives Matter”, for example. You send the fire department to houses that are actively burning down before you send them to gated mansions where the cooking staff overdid a roast!
Women have suffered, and continue to suffer disadvantages which men generally do not; but at the same time, treating them with kid gloves, and letting them just get away with sins one would consider unforgivable when committed by a man in a similar position, is also sexist. It robs women of their agency.
Speaking of men in similar positions committing unforgivable sins, I’d already done a cartoon last year which spread the blame more evenly amongst House and Senate Democrats, especially the relentlessly pathetic and consistently disappointing Chuck Schumer, but I felt it was important to focus on Pelosi specifically, now, because she just became Speaker of the House for a second time.
Democrats like to claim that Pelosi accomplished quite a bit during her first turn as Speaker, but when you actually look into them, some of her most significant legislative “victories” represented massive concessions to the Right and global, corporate oligarchy more than they did anything meaningful for her more moderate base, to say nothing of the Left.
Meanwhile, she presided over enormous, catastrophic losses in the House, which served to make the Democratic agenda there even more submissive and anemic than it was during the party’s brief supermajority. As I’ve speculated in the past, it was almost as if they were failing on purpose, so that the bar for success would be so low afterwards, they could continue “earning” the same level of support while becoming ever-lazier and increasingly unsuccessful at everything they were elected to do.
Despite this dubious track record, Pelosi’s second bid for Speaker was essentially unopposed; even enthusiastically supported by much better potential candidates who should have considered challenging her. I suspect this lack of opposition stems more from fear on the part of her fellow Democrats than genuine confidence in her leadership—nobody wants to be placed on the House Janitorial Subcommittee For Urinal-Scrubbing while his or her office and re-election campaign are deliberately starved of operational funding, after all, and if there was one thing women in politics had drilled into them during the last two or three decades of the 20th century, it was that the only way for them to obtain and retain power was to be more cutthroat, vindictive, and warlike than even their worst male counterparts.
Pelosi had already made it clear immediately prior to the new year that she’d definitely continue her well-established tradition of sucking, when she and Chuck Schumer offered Donald Trump $1-2 billion for his racist border wall in exchange for… paying government employees to do their jobs.
How was the latter even up for negotiation in the first place?? It feels like Democratic leaders are STARTING from a position of not only telling Trump exactly how to trap them in a cage, but helping him build it, too!
After she accepted the gavel, Pelosi’s opening move was to convince all but three House Democrats to vote yes on a budget provision that seemingly the party’s entire base utterly loathes, because it would kneecap common-sense legislation desperately needed to save not just the lives of millions, but possibly the entire human race.
After weeks of public hounding about Climate Change, all she did to address this dire matter was create a committee which evidently has even less power now than when the previous such committee she created was powerless, and as an additional “fuck you” to activists and humanity, appointed as that committee’s chairperson someone with a vested interest in keeping it from ever doing anything.
Reminds me of when Donald Trump put Rick Perry in charge of the Department of Energy!
Of course, this cartoon’s primary argument is that meeting fascism halfway still enables fascism, and ultimately leads to the same disaster going full fascist would. By this kind of centrist logic, The Final Solution would have been acceptable if it had only resulted in half as many deaths as it did, like some kind of anti-Semitic Thanos.