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Commentary

Auchter's Art: Conspiracy theories more outlandish than satire

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John Auchter
/
Michigan Radio

Americans have always been prone to conspiracy theories — from the McCarthyism and the John Birch Society to pizzagate and anti-vaxxers. But it certainly seems to have hit a higher gear lately, hasn't it? Of course it doesn't help having a president who gins up outrage as a matter of course and doesn't feel confined by details (or truth).

Still, our willingness to enthusiastically believe what should be unbelievable is astonishing. Take the United States Postal Service as an example. It's an institution older than the country itself with offices in the biggest cities and smallest towns that have served as keystones to our communities. How did it become a bad guy?

We can't trust them as an integral part of our voting system? Because why? Because it has perpetuated massive voter fraud in the past? (It hasn't.) Because it will in the future? (It won't.) Because it's government run, and therefore part of the deep state? (It isn't.)

As a cartoonist, it's can be exhausting trying to keep ahead of the conspiracy theories — to come up with satire so outlandish that it will it will make people pause to think or laugh (hopefully both). But, honestly, drawing a character that blames the historically terrible floods in Midland this week on the Post Office — is that more over-the-top exaggeration or real life?

John Auchter is a freelance political cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.

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