I follow Editorial Cartoonist Clay Jones, and yesterday he wrote in a Facebook post that someone should draw the current confrontation between Trump and John Lewis. This was a rhetorical question, because as I found out, Clay was drawing one of his own. Being a muddled dense head, I thought it was a challenge for everyone, so I drew a cartoon too. After I posted it, I realized he may not have appreciated it. If I had drawn the ideas he was coming up with, then Clay would have honorably scrapped his cartoon and re-calculated. Sorry about that Clay. Here’s a link to Clay Jones cartoon.
My cartoon shows John Lewis and Trump in a boxing ring, because there are strong and interesting parallels between the classic 1938 fight of Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling and today’s Twitter battle. (Here is a Wikipedia link about the fights). At the time, Joe Louis was the focal point of African American athletic pride, much like today where John Lewis is the focal point for Civil Rights pride. Schmeling was from Natzi Germany, and there was powerful American pride behind Joe Louis at the time. Trump has German heritage, and his campaign rhetoric has similarities to the rise of Natzi Germany in the 1930s. Today, there is a reactionary theme in the American electorate against the racism, demagoguery, misogynistic callus, and nationalistic populism that Trump inspires. It’s like the boxing match is being recreated here and now.
John Lewis started the fight a few days ago by tweeting, “I don’t see this president-elect as legitimate president.” As much as I admire John Lewis, and as much as I do not want Trump as president, I have to disagree with John’s statement. Still, part of me hopes Lewis knocks out Trump flat cold on the canvas whether it’s the right thing to do or not.
Trump had every right to respond, but how he did this shows a lost opportunity to bring us together and gather much needed support for his presidency. Wouldn’t it have been better if Trump responded with something like this, “John, I disagree, but I hope to work with you in the future to build a better America.” This is how I see the spirit of Martin Luther King Day. So, Leadership Needed, Please Apply.