I mentioned my dream of buying matching “1 Termer” T-shirts for Bushes Senior and Junior in an artist’s statement months ago. It was my friend Megan who actually commissioned me to draw the cartoon, because she decided she wanted to have T-shirts made of the image and also use it on her sign at the protests surrounding the Republican National Convention this weekend. I pretty much do what Megan tells me, so here it is. The idea was originally inspired by a news photograph I saw back before 9/11, showing the elder and younger Bushes riding in a golf cart wearing matching ball caps bearing the numbers of their respective presidencies, which hats had (I believe) been a gift from the younger Bush to his father on the occasion of his birthday. The loathsome smugness of this image made it ubiquitous on the internet for a week or so. In trying to find a copy of it for reference in drawing this cartoon, however, I discovered a curious thing; it has all but vanished from the internet. The closest I got to it was someone’s blog that had a link to it, but when I clicked on the link it had been discontinued. Thanks to Mike Buckley, computer guy, and Dave Dudley, professional journalist, for their efforts to track it down. It was Dave who finally turned up several versions using LexisNexis and forwarded it to me, along with some unnecessarily patronizing remarks about the insidious conspiracy to suppress it.
This is a little more of my cartoon voodoo, an effort to shape actual events through imagery. Needless to say, like all forms of magical thinking, it is stupid and useless. I for one think that Bush is going to win this election, through the stupidity of the American people if possible or treachery if necessary. (About which more in next week’s cartoon.) Ted Rall, who, unlike me, actually pays attention to facts and things, tells me the electoral map generally favors Kerry but in the end it all seems like it’s going to come down to Pennsylvania—or, as my friends in Philadelphia call it, “Pennsyltucky.” I am not heartened by this analysis. Still, maybe helping people dare to envision Bush’s defeat will encourage a few more of them to go to the polls.
Nah, that’s bullshit. We’re all fucked.
Well, by the time you read this artist’s statement, I will probably be dead. I’m going to New York to join in the protests surrounding the Republican National Convention this weekend, where I except to be tear-gassed by the police, unless the terrorists spare me that fate by blowing me up first. If I am killed, know that I died among some of the people I love most in this world, wearing my suit, carrying a blown-up version of the cartoon Four More Years, and attempting, futilely as always, to stick it to The Man.