The Politics of A Cartoon Presidency

Practical Politics

David L. Horne, PH.D. | 9/3/2020, midnight

While growing up in Florida, I was a strong aficionado of cartoons, comic books and that type of social education. A lot of social-political habits, customs, gestures, proper interactions and beliefs were imparted through Mighty Mouse; Mickey Mouse and Friends; Tom Terrific; Tom and Jerry; Popeye; and the Roadrunner cartoon stories. Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner remained favorites throughout childhood.

Wile E., who was always chasing the Roadrunner, and virtually always zapped into a bad ending, never stopped trying, but also never stopped getting flummoxed in the end. The perpetual lesson? Trying hard to succeed and not letting one’s defeats crush one or stop one’s pursuit of a desired end, was a good thing. Another truism was just because someone is smarter than you did not mean they should always win. (Although the Roadrunner always did).

But Wile E.’s adventures in constantly vying for the Roadrunner’s head also taught us that Wile E.’s character did not seem to learn a lot from its follies. The more Wile E. tried the same or similar tactics, the more often would he lose. Particularly was this the case whenever Wile E. tried to convince the Roadrunner and friends to see the world through Wile E.’s eyes. The Roadrunner must be caught, punished and superseded, because Wile E. Coyote wanted it so. That was Wile E.’s reasoning plain and simple. Explanations and protestations from other characters were not convincing or even entertained. There was always a kind of lunacy displayed in Wile E.’s reasoning as a lesson to us all.

In more ways than one, Mr. Trump reminds me of Wile E. Coyote. After having promised he’d take care of things appropriately for the American people, and that he’d protect them better than his opponent, Mr. Trump now claims that the protests, looting, and continued public killings of Black people by law enforcement during his administration are the fault of whoever wants to replace him. The nightmare we’re all now living inside of is not his fault or his problem—though ignited and blown way out of proportion during his time as POTUS. Again, it is his opponent’s fault.

When the automobile Wile E. sends speeding towards the Roadrunner jumps the gulch, bounces off the rocks, flips over the river and comes zooming back straight at Wile E., who has no place to run and hide, Wile E. blames the inevitable car crash car itself on the car not acting like the car it is. When Wile E. gets run-over he easily tacks back to the view that the car had it in for him. The car did not play fair.

The triple plagues affecting America in 2020, Mr. Trump simply claims are un-American and not his fault. Sure, trouble is here dragging us all down, but it is not his fault. It is the fault of his political opponents trying to make him look bad. He didn’t send this bad car careening out of control trying to kill the Roadrunner. This car was just a never-Trumper that caused all this mess of a pile-up.

Mr. Trump does not accept responsibility for nearly 200,000 dead Americans because of the coronavirus. The virus simply does not like him and won’t go away as it has been asked to do. The presence of fully armed, violent anti-protesters in major American cities is not his fault. It is the fault of the Democrats in charge.

As I said, this is a looney argument, that as usual with Wile E. Coyote, backfires.

At the end, Americans will merely ask the simple question again—Are we better off now than we were 4 years ago?—and kick Wile E. to the curb when the answer is no.

Beep. Beep !!!

Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.

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