Doonesbury is an extremely popular, widely read USA comic strip. It's often politically controversial, with a proud and obvious heavy left hand, and quite a few subscribing newspapers run it on the Editorial Page rather than the comics page -- apparently on the theory that no children will read it on the Editorial page, and become politically contaminated, or oversophisticated.
A few weeks ago, newly elected Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, a Republican, proclaimed an official month honoring the War Between the States -- what those in former Confederate/Southern states call the Civil War (1861 - 1865).
His proclamation praised the brave Confederate soldiers, their ideals, virtues and sacrifices ... but made no mention that the Southern states were slave states and were fighting to preserve the institution of African slavery.
Those defending his proclamation's curious wording said instead that the Confederacy had fought to uphold the principle of States' Rights -- that is, that every state had rights to conduct government, justice, commerce and law in its own local way, and the federal government had only limited powers to demand that a state obey and conform to federal wishes on any issue. That's what the WbtS had been about to the Confederacy.
Virginia has lots of African-American voters, lots of them the descendants of slaves. They interpreted the governor's proclamation, and failure to mention slavery (which the Northern victory in the Civil War ended), as a clear pandering to white voters on the most primitive and racist end of the political spectrum. And a clear Fuck You to the Commonwealth's African-American residents, and the ordeal their ancestors endured in America (in both the South and the North, including my Massachusetts) for centuries.
The proclamation received so much national attention -- pretty much all bad -- that within a few days McDonnell reversed himself and issued a modified proclamation which acknowledged that slavery had indeed been a fundamental issue which the Confederacy had indeed fought to preserve.
In effect, the Governor explained that he had forgotten Slavery, or perhaps never knew about it, but it had now been constructively brought to his attention, and he now wanted the issue included in Virginia's celebration of the War Between the States. The whole Proclamation Thing had really been A Teaching Moment for everybody. Praise the Lord.
McDonnell, a former US Army supply officer, is a graduate of Notre Dame, and a law grad of Regent University, a fundamentalist Christian-themed school founded by fundie televangelist Pat Robertson.
This Doonesbury strip was part of a series lampooning the governor's original proclamation, and asking what Virginians think the Confederacy stood for and fought for ... if it wasn't about African slavery ... as so many Americans have been misled or maleducated to believe.
Roland Hedley is Doonesbury's fictional TV reporter for Fox News Channel, which is owned by the non-fictional Rupert Murdoch.
Roland is not particularly bright, but being particularly bright -- or particularly fair or accurate -- has always been a career negative at Fox News Channel. Brains & Journalistic Ethics & Integrity Bad. Perky Tits & Twinkling Teeth Good.
Fox was a constant 8-year cheerleader for former President George W. Bush, and Fox has been a constant hurler of rotten fruit and vegetables at his successor, Barack Obama. Through Fox's lens, Bush could do no wrong, Obama has done no right.
Jon Stewart hosts the very popular "The Daily Show" about politics on cable TV's Comedy Central. It may look like all jokes and cheap laughs, but Stewart's interviews with Big Players, his uncomfortably tough, blunt questions, and his commentary on the political scene, have evolved into an extremely influential factor in national opinion and elections.
Where Fox points its needle -- usually to spear and smear anyone to the left of Kraft Cheese Singles -- Stewart pretty much points "The Daily Show" needle 180° the other way.
Stewart regularly sticks it to Obama, particularly for Obama's slowness or reluctance or inability to fulfill a number of important campaign promises -- like ending both of Bush's Asian wars.
As the new military Commander-in-Chief, it is fully within Obama's sole authority to cease US military activities in Iraq and Afghanistan, and bring all US troops home.
He has done nothing of the sort; and in fact has shifted military efforts and increased US combat in Afghanistan.
On several issues, the Obama administration has acted with such sympathy and harmony with the bizarre and anti-constitutional precedents set by Bush that some wags refer to Obama as "Bush Lite." For example, the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo, a US military zone in Cuba, is still open, to keep detainees beyond the reach of the habeas corpus powers of U.S. courts. Obama promised to close the detention facility at Guantanamo.
To the best of my knowledge, Fox has never had a nice or positive thing to say about Barack Obama or any of his activities as President. On Fox, the world is still -- or ought to be -- White and Republican, or something even creepier. The White part is not in itself creepy. I know lots of very non-creepy White People.
The Republican Party in recent years has chosen to morph itself into something pretty creepy -- well, the political reflection of Fox News Channel's view of America and the World. They think that's where the votes and the power will ultimately prevail.
Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus) is a particularly severe chronic autoimmune disease. You don't want to get it. You don't want to watch Fox News Channel.