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Auchter's Art

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Do you remember how I wrote last week that I was on vacation? Well, that means that this week is the first week after vacation, which everybody knows means two weeks of work scrunched into a single week. Which means no additional commentary because I have to get back to work!

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.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

This is family vacation time for me, so in order to fully appreciate and benefit from the "not working" part of what a vacation is actually supposed to be (a bit of a foreign concept to most of us Americans, I know), I drew this cartoon a week ago. That's always a challenge — picking some topic that can remain relevant (heck, even recognizable) when news cycles continue to accelerate toward warp speed.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

In lieu of additional commentary this week, I would just like to encourage you to find reliable news sources (AP, Reuters, NPR) and follow this story — the President deploying federal law enforcement to Portland and Chicago (with Detroit on the short list for next). It's chilling and wrong and everything the United States of America is not. It's vital that patriots (real patriots) take a stand against it.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

There's an under-appreciated scene in Ferris Bueller's Day Off where Ferris's sister Jeanie (filled with indignation and attitude) walks into the principal's office. The school secretary blankly greets her with, "Hello, Jeanie. Who's bothering you now?"

John Auchter / For Michigan Radio

I feel the need to let you know — this cartoon was inspired by the first Betsy DeVos story this week:

Several Democratic-led states and the District of Columbia have joined in a lawsuit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, accusing the Trump administration of trying to unlawfully divert pandemic relief funds from public schools to private schools.

john auchter cartoon about Facebook
John Auchter for Michigan Radio

I'm sure you've had a similar experience on Facebook — a post from one over-the-edge friend complaining aggressively about how her views are being systematically suppressed next to a post from a befuddled friend who went missing for awhile having been booted for something totally benign. Or maybe one of these people is you. In any case, the common theme (and irony) is that Facebook has done them dirty, and they are telling you about it on Facebook.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I considered holding off on drawing this cartoon and saving it for next week and the Independence Day holiday. It would have been more of an indictment of how, we as a nation, have seemingly forgotten our ideals, how the United States was once young, scrappy, and hungry and we didn't throw away our shot. (I can steal from Hamilton, too, Mr. Bolton.)

This week, the City of Detroit removed a bust of Christopher Columbus from its pedestal near the entrance of the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. It's in storage for now as the mayor and city officials decide what to do with it. No doubt it has historical value — it's 110 years-old. Like many Columbus-related honors, this one came as a gift from Italian-Americans.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I am very happy not talking about stuff I find uncomfortable. And I especially prefer avoiding discussions about things that make me feel terrible. Racism qualifies here. I can understand the inclination to deflect, side-step, or look-past the subject. But obviously that isn't solving the problem. (Heck, talking isn't even the hard part! It's the doing after the talking.)

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Whenever I travel on a business trip or attend a conference, I like to go running. It gets me outside to actually experience the place I'm visiting. I'm used to getting up super early, so I run in the pre-dawn hours. City streets, parks, cemeteries, neighborhoods — my only real concern for safety being avoiding cars. As a 6 foot 3 inch white male, I just never considered myself a target.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

My niece works as a chemical engineer in a petroleum refinery. When the pandemic hit, there was both a glut of oil and a sharp reduction in demand for oil products. That, along with stay-at-home orders for workers, led to the difficult decision to turn off the refinery for a bit.

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).

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Justin Amash is the current U.S. Representative for Michigan's 3rd congressional district. He was part of the Tea Party wave of Republicans elected in 2010. (I used to draw him as Sarah Palin back then.) He turned out to be a bit more substantive, earning a reputation for being thoughtful and deliberative, holding firm to his beliefs. Some would say (including many of his colleagues) too firm.

comic featuring lee chatfield
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

In my house, the current quarantine binge watch of choice is the comedy series "Veep." My wife and I had seen a few episodes here and there over its run this past decade, but the dearth of live sports events to watch has afforded us the opportunity.

Auchter's Art: It's them, not you

May 1, 2020
auchter's art for may 1
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I have a life hack for you. It applies mostly to guys (at least that has been my experience), but I think everybody could find it useful. Here it is: If you are ever in a situation where people are encouraging you to do something by telling you "don't be a sissy," then don't do it. In other words, never do what they are encouraging you to do. Simple, right? Not following their advice is 100% always the right choice.

Auchter's art for April 24
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Show of hands — who wants to talk more about coronavirus? Yeah, I'm fatigued myself. Unfortunately, it is destined to be a trending topic for quite some time. As German Chancellor, Angela Merkel said this week, "This is not the end phase but still just the beginning." It was a timely reality check from an experienced leader. 

John Auchter

When our son was three years-old, and my wife or I needed to take him away from something he was enjoying (typically a computer game) and move him to something else (typically anything but a computer game), he would get very frustrated and say, "No! I want to do what I want to do." As we forged ahead, he would slow it down: "I want to do. What. I want. To do!" It was so sublimely simple — how could his stupid parents possibly not get it?! He would be totally exasperated with us.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

A stranger comes to your front door, introduces himself as LibTriggerPatriot69, and immediately engages you in conversation about politics. Well, not really a conversation — more like a one-sided rant that you're expected to agree with and share with everybody you know. Would this be acceptable to you?

auchter's art
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I hope and pray you are all dealing with your coronavirus contradictions as best you can.

John Auchter

Admittedly, comparing the financial crisis that precipitated the Great Recession to the crisis we're currently experiencing is kinda apples-to-oranges. Different economics, different timelines, different triggers. Still, am I the only one feeling disorientated by the stunning contrast of the GOP and the bailout money?

John Auchter

Let me be clear: opinion pieces are not all inherently bad. Good ones can provide context for complex concepts and hard to understand situations. The late, great Jeff MacNelly once said this about editorial cartoonists:

"We violate all the rules of journalism. We misquote and slander and distort. [But] the interesting thing is, the political cartoonist usually, if he’s any good, gets a hell of a lot closer to the truth than a responsible reporter.”

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I'm sure many of you have seen the meme going around social media meant to assuage voters whose preferred presidential candidate has dropped. It's just a block of words that says this:

Time to remember the best voting advice I have heard: Voting isn't marriage, it's public transportation. You are not waiting for "the one" who is absolutely perfect. You are getting the bus. And if there isn't one going exactly to your destination, you don't stay at home and sulk — you take the one going closest to where you want to be.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

It's interesting the effects of even a small amount of passing time.

4 democrats ignore Elizabeth Warren
John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Saturday night, my dad, my son, and I spent 40 minutes in the waiting area of a local restaurant. 

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

There was an article in the Detroit Free Press this week, "Some Michigan libraries join nationwide trend: Eliminating late fees on overdue books." Here's an excerpt:

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I didn't actually watch much of the State of the Union speech. I opted for college basketball. But that turned out to be pretty painful, too, as both Michigan and Michigan State lost their games in the waning seconds. Punishment for not being a good citizen, I suppose.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Story #1: A couple of weeks ago, Michigan State Senator Peter Lucido made an inappropriate comment to Allison Donahue, a reporter for the Michigan Advance. Donahue confronted Lucido and then reported it. Subsequently, two more women reported experiencing inappropriate actions by Lucido.

auchter's art
John Auchter for Michigan Radio

To be sure, there are some people who are perfectly happy working in the gig economy. Lyft drivers who appreciate the flexible hours and social engagement. Shipt pickers who enjoy the challenge of filling grocery orders for other people. 

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Perhaps as Michiganders we are a bit more sensitive to drinking water issues than most Americans. What with our 11,000 lakes (Great and otherwise), we have constant reminders of this precious natural resource. Add to that the recent disasters of the Flint water crisis and discoveries of PFAS contamination, and, well, you could say there is ample reason for our heightened interest.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I certainly don't agree with those who deny the existence of climate change, but I can relate to the mindset. I'm a natural born contrarian, so I get the impulse to resist consensus, especially if people are telling me I have to accept it.

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