THE CURSE OF INTERESTING TIMES
When I started to sketch this drawing, a day or two ago, things were different. So I’ve removed the little guy walking on water from the middle of the image on the right. What’s left there is just an oily stain And made the little guy on the left a little bigger though not enough to make a difference.
I was trying to make metaphor of the current American political scene when I happened upon a documentary called “The Greek Thing” about those ancient experiments in alternative government I noticed some scary parallels with today’s society. Classical Greece was a counter episode to the gangs to kingdoms to empires back to gangs cycle that has dominated world governance before and after.
Two and a half millennia ago the Greeks decided to dump the hereditary king thing in favor of representative oligarchy. American history texts say it was democracy they were trying out as the American representative oligarchy is also mislabeled a democracy. Various city-states tried different flavors of this, achieving various lengths of peacetime with various distributions of prosperity.
At one extreme, Sparta had a military elite supported be a not quite enslaved under class which lasted quite a while and Athens on the other end tried a variety of less authoritarian systems. Athens did try democracy, you know, a government where everyone could participate, but only sort of, as only free born Athenian males could vote and only the aristocrats could run for office. Do either of these sound familiar?
Then a self promoting tyrant/showman with the help of downtrodden peasants overthrew the aristo-democracy, and made Athens great again for a while. Does this sound familiar as well? His sons were much less effective, which brought Athens back to another aristocracy led near-democracy. It was weird system as there politicians were drafted and generals elected. Eventually the region, along with the rest of the west, fell back in to the empire/gangs/kingdom/empire cycle and, excerpt for occasional ill-fated flings with democracy, has remained so ever since.
Back to the drawing. I’m not an editorial cartoonist ( I was one long ago & off and on, though) so I don’t have to label everything, but for those of you not familiar with American politics I’ll explain the gist of it now. In the left frame, we see the big prow of slow-to-turn super-freighter; it is the “Ms. Clinton.” The leaking rowboat whose captain is futilely trying to push it leftward is the “Bernie.” In the right frame, we see the stern of the mega-yacht “Mr Trump” with the dreadnought “G.O.P.” sinking in the distance.
We do live in interesting times.