On -isms: The Trump Effects

By | Thursday, November 10, 2016 3 comments
Eight years ago, I posted a piece on what impact I thought then President-Elect Obama would have on comics. The basic gist of my projection was that stories might get a little lighter and more optimistic in tone, but he'd have little significant impact directly. I don't think that with a Trump Presidency. I think we're going to see a measurable decline in the volume of good material overall, and a more significant decline in comics created by minorities and women.

I don't think Trump is just going to round up everyone who looks vaguely Mexican and kick them across the border on Day One. I don't think he's going start "conversion therapy" camps or anything like that. I don't think we'll look like that hellhole metropolis in Soylent Green, which is supposed to take place a mere six years from now.

I think we'll see a Trump administration with the Republican Congress pepper the next several years with laws that, in the name of security or fiscal policy or some other smokescreen, strip women and minorities of what they have. They'll be "voting rights" acts that make it harder for Blacks and Latinos to vote. Passed under the guise of voter fraud protection. The Affordable Care Act might not get axed straight out, but I can easily see it getting de-funded in the name of fiscal responsibility. Immigration quotas will be tightened under the pretense of saving jobs. Almost certainly a hundred other laws that, to all but the deliberately obtuse, will chip away at equality.

So how does this impact comics?

With stricter voting regulations, fewer Blacks and Latinos will be able to vote, thereby making them even less represented than they already are. Added security will lead to even more profiling, both of which leading to more minorities in prison. Of course, if you're in prison, the chances of you having the ability to create and publish comics drop pretty radically. How many voices won't we hear because of this?

With the ACA gutted, how many people are going to have to try to track down full-time jobs just in order for them to get healthy insurance? When will they have time to work on comics? Or what about those who aren't able to get a job (since they're competing with so many others like them) and die as a result of the inability to get treatment? More voices we won't hear.

Women who try to make comics, but then quickly drop out of the industry altogether when they're harassed and threatened.

What about the LGBTQ community, whose have trolls drive them back into the closet already? Even in the couple of days since the election, there's been an uptick in violence against them, attributed to being given a pass by Trump's own behavior. How many people will find it preferable to simply hide and avoid getting beaten than speak up and find themselves in the hospital or worse?

The Dakota Access Pipeline will be rammed through the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's lands. Beyond the short term disruption, it will almost inevitably leak into the groundwater, leading to the deaths of who knows how many locals.

Undoubtedly, and certainly in the near term, many creators will speak up and speak loudly. But as day to day living becomes slowly more difficult, with fewer safety nets, and a very real danger to the physical safety, I suspect we'll start hearing less and less from them as they try to take care of themselves. Which they absolutely will have to do. But that will also mean time they can't work on making their voices heard through comics.

One thing I've actively tried to do over the past decade or so has been seek out those smaller voices, and either amplify them or provide some measure of support. And I've tried to use whatever privileged forum I have to promote tolerance and diversity, often using comics as the medium to send that message. But it obviously hasn't been enough. I'm not speaking loudly enough, or eloquently enough, or passionately enough, or persuasively enough. I've never really thought of myself as a writer, but I've never felt less of one than now. I will continue to do what I can to support and promote women and minority voices, but I apologize for not doing more. Or better. I don't want to see voices that are different from mine silenced. But I expect that many of them will be as the real-world effects of President Trump will quiet them little by little as they succumb to having to put all their energies into mere survival, sadly casting aside the relative luxury of creating comics.
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Dakota said...

Just to add two facts on the pipeline - kind of off topic, but since you brought it up - there already is a pipeline crossing the Missouri in that exact same location. The Northern Border Pipeline, which is a natural gas line built back in 1982. Sounds like that one wasn't protested, although I was 9 so I can't say for sure. While Gas is different than oil, it is still there going through roughly the same path, and I've never heard of any leaks from that one.

The other point of contention for those of us living north of the protest area is the fact that the Dakota Access Pipeline had a multi-year planning timeline, with multiple public meetings, yet it appears that Standing Rock leadership did not protest the path during those meetings. Why not do it then instead of waiting until they are already building and have most items approved by the government?

Phil said...

I have heard that story too. How do you know they didn't protest then but the u didn't hear about it? How publicized were these hearings? Was the public aware of them or were they posted on the board outside the 7-11 to legally abide by the law but in effect no one knew ? And who owns that land anyway? I ask because I know nothing .
as gas leaks go Porter Ranch. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aliso_Canyon_gas_leak. Put out more carbon than Deepwater Horizon. To be fair that was a storage area not a pipe. I assume it's harder to fix. But they have to put that gas somewhere.
I do agree that this will probably mean fewer small press comics but you never know. It could lead to a boom in political comics.

Matt K said...

I have heard this "multiple public meetings" line many times, especially lately in my own city.

As Phil suggests, it can mean many things. But I know from my own experience that, among them, it can mean that people in power made decisions behind closed doors, and then graciously "allowed" the public to "comment" and then be ignored.

I also know that this can be a no-win situation, whatever people on the outside do. If you show up, then "your comments were heard we and considered every point of view in making our decision and now we need to 'move forward.'" If you refuse to dignify an obvious dog-and-pony show, then "we gave you the opportunity to have input and you declined so it's inappropriate to protest now."

The essence of "proper channels" is basically "something which does not constrain or in any way inconvenience those in power."

These, admittedly, are opinions or personal perspective. As for facts: