Cartoonist Ted Rall on The Occupy Movement's Flawed Model, Upcoming Elections, and His Latest Work, "The Book of Obama"

Categories: Literary

Welcome back to Explicitly Graphic, a monthly by Cynthia Clark Harvey (who's working on a graphic novel of her own). From time to time, Harvey will review graphic novels, talk to artists, and dive into the scene of all things explicitly graphic. Today, she sits down with journalist and cartoonist Ted Rall.

Courtesy Ted Rall
What do Tunisians have that we ain't got? They got a revolution, for one thing. They were spurred to overthrow their rulers when their country had lower unemployment and less income disparity than ours.

Ted Rall, who will appear at Changing Hands on Saturday, August 25, says it's inevitable that revolution is coming to this country. He doesn't speculate whether it will come after the next election cycle (more likely with Romney/Ryan win) or the next, or twenty or a hundred years from now, but it is coming.

When a US revolution comes, if he's still on the planet, Rall says he will be there, doing what he can to disturb the peace.

A few months ago, I knew Rall only as "America's bad boy cartoonist," whose home paper is the LA Times. But Rall is an award-winning journalist and war correspondent, graphic novelist, a Pulitzer finalist, and a genuine leftie -- not an establishment liberal who votes Democrat.

His new book, The Book of Obama, certainly disturbed whatever peace I had.

In The Book of O(bama): From hope and change to the age of revolt, Rall lays out his case, and it's a strong one, for why we should revolt instead of vote, how the only hope we have for real change in this country is to trash the broken Democratic-Republican duopoly and create something new that better serves a diverse nation.

I spoke to Rall recently by phone about the new book, the upcoming election cycle, Barry Goldwater and the recent wave of protests here and abroad.

Now that I know you as a writer and a cartoonist, which do you find more satisfying?
In cartooning, I always had ability for that. When I see the blank piece of paper, I see endless possibilities and it just comes easier. With writing, it took years and years of writing before I felt as though I was a pretty good writer. But with the writing, there's more power to change things. So they're just different, and I can't really call one more satisfying than the other.

I have to confess that deep down inside, I knew many of the things you wrote in The Book of Obama, but hadn't wanted to admit it. Why do you think folks who voted for Obama have such a hard time accepting that he is not what they voted for?
A lot of people thought he could be so much better than he is. And we probably would have done better with any other prominent Black politician, an Alan West or an Al Sharpton. But people have a really hard time acknowledging what Obama is. I was a dinner the other night and a woman asked me, What could I say to you that would persuade you that Obama should be re-elected? I said, Nothing! He's a murderer; he's using drones to kill innocent people every day! She said, Well, I'm against that policy but. . . And I say, This isn't about policy. The man is a murderer. It's like with LBJ, he did some good things, but he was a killer and the voters recognized him for what he was. They didn't go out of their way to apologize for him.

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In life, all is politics.  Whether you need to keep your stereo down to avoid disturbing the neighbors or whether you give a dinner basket to an elderly neighbor, it's all politics.  If you look up the definition of the word and it's origins, you'll find that is true.  In life, all is politics.   Wise political actors chose their allies.  We all know that unless one can amass enough money and power they have to work with other people and compromise.  We have seen what happens when one tries to be King of the World (Hitler).  Compromise and negotiating are part of everyday life and we should also accept this reality in electing our representatives.  After all, revolution means killing innocent people by the millions and that is why we have a proportionately representational government to avoid that.  I chose the people to represent  me who are most aligned with my thinking on various policies in place and those being proposed.  I don't reject a candidate because they have not come over to "my side" 100% - that will NEVER happen and I know it - and so do you.  So stop acting so pompous and arrogant, beating your chest about how true you are to your beliefs that you will allow, even encourage, millions of other innocent people to die. 

Perhaps you should also look up the word "Revolution" and "military industrial complex" to see what you're up against. 

We have a revolutionary electoral system and it proved last presidential cycle that it works.  There is no way that a dark-skinned person would be elected in the United States EVER - so say the pundits like yourself - so negative - but there, just there - it happened. 

Now, if Romney wins we will see the first non-christian elected to office and again, there - just there - it happened again. 

Right wing, Left Wing hey if we stuck a brain on it and a tail we could fly - TOGETHER!!!!

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