The huge lie in Garry Trudeau's Sunday edition of Doonesbury

I started reading Doonesbury comics in 1971 or so, as soon as the syndicated cartoon first hit the San Francisco Chronicle.  I read those strips religiously for years.  In many ways, they provided my political education.  That's probably still true for generations of people, no matter their age, who turn to the comics first when they get the paper.  That's why it matters greatly that, in yesterday's Sunday comics, Garry Trudeau told a blatant lie about the newly enacted election laws in Georgia.  He needs to be taken to task, and I've volunteered for the job.

Trudeau's cartoon shaped my political views (along with growing up in San Francisco and attending U.C. Berkeley).  I had the greatest disdain for Reagan, not because I understood anything about him, but because Trudeau had such disdain for him.

I have no idea whether Trudeau originated the phrase or not, but I still remember getting a huge laugh from one of his strips explaining that you could "wade through Reagan's deepest thoughts without getting your ankles wet."  Looking back, I regret the "education" I got through the Doonesbury comics because they prevented me from understanding just how deep Reagan's thoughts really were and what an extraordinary presidency I was blessed (unaware) to live through.

I stopped reading Doonesbury sometime in the mid-1980s.  Trudeau took a hiatus from 1983 through 1984, and by the time the strip returned, I was very busy and no longer interested in reading comics.  I assume that Trudeau was nasty for the remainder of Reagan's presidency, and then alternately hostile to Republican presidencies, and happy as a pig in mud for the Democrats.  Life must be good in Doonesbury land now that Biden's in office.

After my decades of ignoring him, Trudeau intruded once again on my thoughts because I was stupid enough to buy a cheap, year-long Sunday subscription to my local paper.  The paper is a rag that exists to propound climate change; BLM; LGBTQ; and Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity (DIE) garbage to its readers.  But it does have a comic section. So, before I consign the paper to the fireplace pile (it makes great tinder), I find myself falling back into my childhood habit of reading the comics.

Image: Drinking from a water bottle by wayhomestudio (Freepik license).

That explains how, on Sunday, I discovered that Garry Trudeau is selling the big water bottle lie about the new Georgia election laws.  The new law bans anyone from campaigning within specified distances from a polling place or voters in line at the polling place.  Campaigning includes offering food or drink as a way to solicit votes.  The law explicitly holds that it does not prohibit poll officers from making self-service water available:

(a) No person shall solicit votes in any manner or by any means or method, nor shall any person distribute or display any campaign material, nor shall any person give, offer to give, or participate in the giving of any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink, to an elector, nor shall any person solicit signatures for any petition, nor shall any person, other than election officials discharging their duties, establish or set up any tables or booths on any day in which ballots are being cast [within specified distances from polling places and voters].


(e) This Code section shall not be construed to prohibit a poll officer ... from making available self-service water from an unattended receptacle to an elector waiting in line to vote.

Biden has already lied about this law.  Last March, he told reporters that Georgia "passed a law saying you can't provide water for people standing in line while they're waiting to vote."  False.  Of course, it's debatable how many people listen to Biden, so maybe the damage from the lie is limited.

However, lots of people read the comics, and Trudeau has now told exactly the same lie.  Mike Doonesbury's daughter, Alex, is busy trying to charter a bus.  Doonesbury overhears the conversation, including her asking the bus owner, "Why would the bus be fire-bombed?"  When Doonesbury asks what the bus is for, Alex explains.  See if you can spot the lie:

Alex: A bunch of us are going to Atlanta this fall.

Doonesbury: Atlanta? What for?

Alex: To pass out water to voters waiting in line. It's against the law in Georgia. And if we get hauled off to jail like Dr. King, so be it! The whole world will be watching.

If the State of Georgia were a person, I would tell it to sue Trudeau for such a grossly defamatory lie.  That Trudeau sells a leftist line is his right in a free country.  That he uses his bully pulpit to lie is despicable and damaging.  If you subscribe to a paper that carries Doonesbury, you might want to inform the paper that it's peddling gross misinformation.

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