The Lowe Down | Political cartoonist Chan Lowe's take on current issues and the news of the day | Sun Sentinel blogs

The Lowe Down


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July 29, 2011

Chan Lowe: Snoozin' through a crisis

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It’s the financial stigma Republicans won’t talk about, and average Americans won’t remember because it happened before last week.

It was the golden son, George W. Bush, who inherited a humming economy and a surplus from his predecessor. Thanks to his bumbling, and that of the two houses of Congress his party owned for six years⎯we squandered our wealth and undercut our revenue base to the point where yahoos elected in a reactionary wave to the appalling spending spree now threaten to ruin the reputation of the country we all love. The only silver lining to the crash having happened in late 2008 is that there is no way it can be blamed on his successor⎯President Obama’s detractors have to content themselves with attacking him for cleaning up the mess too slowly, and (horrors!) for spending more money in the process.

Meanwhile, President Mission Accomplished slumbers on, enjoying the undisturbed, dreamless sleep of the benighted.

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July 28, 2011

Chan Lowe: Latinos get shafted

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If you’re a Latino in this country, you or someone you know or love may well have an immigration problem. Unless, of course, you’re a Cuban-American.

The official Republican view of Latino migrants is xenophobic and borders on racist. Since Latinos often don’t speak our language all that well when they first arrive, and they don’t resemble the people who disembarked from the Mayflower, it's easy for GOP pols to demonize them as the dreaded “other,” terrifying the local folks with talk that our culture is being overrun by furriners while simultaneously reaching out for political contributions.

The Democrats aren’t much better, dropping by the barrio every couple of years to talk the talk, snag some money and choke down a tamale while taking Latino voters for granted. Remember all that “This is our time,” “Si se puede” stuff from Obama back in 2008? Somehow Latino priorities tend to drop far down the list when it comes time to expend that precious political capital in Washington. It’s a condescending attitude that, just like the xenophobic view, robs them of dignity. The only difference is that the Democrats think of them as a bloc, while the Republicans see them as a horde.

Maybe by mid-century, after the United States becomes a majority-minority country, they’ll just be viewed as Americans, without a label.

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July 27, 2011

Chan Lowe: The debt ceiling crisis

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The contours of this debt ceiling battle, at least the congressional portion of it, now appear to be developing around two kinds of lawmakers: the professionals and the amateurs. The former, the so-called “adults in the room,” are aware that the structure of a viable democracy is rooted in the bedrock of compromise. The latter are those who were sent to Washington by an angry electorate with a simplistic mandate to fix things once and for all, then leave.

Fix-it-and-leave sounds like a noble undertaking, and comports with the Founding Fathers’ idea of the clear-eyed, pragmatic citizen-legislator who laid down his plow, his adze or whatever, and journeyed to the national capital to serve his country for a short period before returning to his vocation.

That was back when the fundamental unit of government was the state. The federal operation was so insignificant that had it defaulted, it probably wouldn’t have made any difference to the average citizen, nor would other countries have even paused in their endless cycle of European land grabs to take notice.


Interconnectedness and interdependency makes everything different now. While an 18th Century agrarian view of government still holds romantic appeal in the hinterlands, it helps no one in 2011, especially those who depend on government largess for their very survival, when a large bloc of our lawmakers finds itself unwilling to deviate from an unrealistic, wrong-headed stand (raising the debt ceiling is merely acknowledging the money we’ve already spent, after all), when a little flexibility would lead to betterment⎯or, at least, deliverance⎯for all.

One tea party-backed freshman, who had no previous experience whatsoever in government, admitted in an interview that the conflicting forces around him left him clueless as to what he should do, except to fall on his knees and ask for divine guidance.

The rest of us can only hope that He’s listening.

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July 26, 2011

Chan Lowe: South Florida chases the gay honeymoon market

gayh.gif In many ways, South Florida is an outlier from the rest of the Sunshine State. Ideologically, somewhere between Palm Beach County and Orlando, time begins to slow, and then to stand still. If you continue farther north, the clock actually starts ticking backwards, as if Einstein himself were reaching out from the grave to apply the theory of relativity to Florida politics. By the time you reach Pensacola, where abortion doctors are considered target practice, you’ve traveled back to the era of the Scopes Trial.

This is the state whose Republican-dominated legislature passed a Defense of Marriage Act to enshrine discrimination in our law. The idea of those who sponsored it was that the institution of heterosexual marriage faced a threat to its moral underpinnings if gays were allowed to marry their own kind, or if the state were merely to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. It is noteworthy that an amendment put forward by then-Rep. Lois Frankel (who hails from a South Florida county, of course), which would also deny recognition to any marriage whose parties had engaged in adulterous sex before marrying, was overwhelmingly defeated by the so-called moralists.

This law puts places like Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach Counties in the embarrassing position of promoting their beachfront scenes as gay tourism destination areas, reaching out with one hand for disposable gay income bucks while administering the stinging slap of discrimination with the other.

Let’s hope this welcome clientele understands that South Florida counties merely live uncomfortably under the same roof as their more reactionary relatives, and that they don’t necessarily agree with the epithets shouted from the porch off the house's northern wing.


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July 25, 2011

Chan Lowe: The Norway tragedy and stereotyping

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It’s only human nature, when something occurs that offends our sensibilities, to round up the usual scapegoats. It happened again with the Norway tragedy. Evidently the Norwegians suffer from the same prejudices the rest of us do. They reflexively assumed at first that the perpetrator was a Muslim extremist, and, like the rest of the world, were surprised to find out he was a Christian anti-Islamist.

A corollary to this mindset is the reluctance to apply the word “terrorism” to terrorist acts perpetrated by non-Muslims. You rarely, if ever, hear the phrase, “Oklahoma City terrorism,” while “9/11” and “terrorism” are terms forever conjoined.

It’s all about frame of reference. To Muslims, a crusader like Richard the Lionhearted, who has gotten pretty good press in the West since the 12th Century, could be considered the Osama bin Laden of his day.

If non-Muslim Americans can take a lesson from this, it’s to reflect upon how it must feel to be tarred as a group by the actions of a few people who happen to claim a certain label.

Extremism is the generic enemy. Brand names don't matter.

POSTED IN: Culture Wars (199), International (86), Religion (28), War on Terror (50)

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July 22, 2011

Chan Lowe: Religious symbol spat erupts in July!!!

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This concerns a picayune local story, but like so many local stories, it has national implications.

Normally, we touchy South Floridians save the religious antics for the holiday season, but this year the ACLU jumped the gun. It has written a letter to Plantation, FL officials indicating that their public holiday display, featuring only a nativity scene and a menorah, is still out of compliance with the Constitution because it leaves out symbols representing all the other religions of the world.

I deliberately made this cartoon ambiguous because many of us feel ambivalent about the annual rite of religious sensitivity. On the one hand, we understand why the Establishment Clause needs such rigorous enforcement. After all, when left unsupervised, otherwise well-meaning Americans have been known to paint a cross on their town water tower, or slip Jesus into a school prayer.

On the other, it’s a shame that the only way we can ensure everyone is included is to leave everyone out. But that’s our emotional side talking. To satisfy that need, we have malls (private property, where merchants offend at their own risk), front yards, and the parking lots of churches, temples, mosques, and other places of worship⎯all of which are Bill of Rights-free zones.

That ought to be plenty for most people, while leaving public spaces unsullied.

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July 21, 2011

Chan Lowe: New York legalizes same-sex marriage

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Last month, when the New York State Legislature passed same-sex marriage, I drew a similar cartoon that sought to point out the inappropriateness of judging a whole group of people based upon the way they were born.

To judge them thus is exactly the same as judging people because of the color of their skin. It’s a convenient dodge to assert that being gay is a matter of choice; that enables the so-called righteous among us to then class it as a sin of commission, and thereby apply their arbitrary rules to it. Condemnation is the natural next step.

Aside from the fact that the only choice being made here is on the part of the judges who use scripture as the justification for their activity, they seem to have conveniently overlooked the remonstrance, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” That’s in scripture, too—Matthew 7:1, if you care to look it up.

Recent polls have shown that young people in America are far more accepting of the sexual orientation of their peers, whatever it may be, than their elders. This is even true of youths who identify themselves as evangelicals, meaning that they may still hate the sin while loving the sinner and all that stuff, but they’re less likely to feel that it’s any of their business to do something about it. As I’ve said before, if you don’t like the idea of same-sex marriage, don’t marry someone of the same sex.

And if you can’t stomach seeing it going on around you, then move to a state where it’s still illegal. The way things have been progressing lately, however, you might want to keep all your belongings in a motor home.

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July 20, 2011

Chan Lowe: The West/Wasserman Schultz flap

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From a political junkie’s standpoint, we here in South Florida are treated to a deliciously abrasive congressional combination⎯adjoining districts represented by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a proud liberal and chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, and Rep. Allen West, the tea party champion who has been touted as Republican Vice-Presidential material.

The other day, the antipathy the two harbor toward each other exploded on the floor of the House, when Ms. Wasserman Schultz expressed her incredulity that Mr. West, a congressman from this senior-rich area, would pursue with such alacrity the cutting of entitlement programs upon which so many of his elderly constituents depend.

This is standard stuff in congressional debate. Mr. West’s response to Ms. Wasserman Schultz was not. In his retort, he swiftly descended to an ad hominem attack, using words like “vile,” “unprofessional,” “despicable,” “coward” and "no lady" to describe Ms. Wasserman Schultz personally.

It can only perplex observers that a retired Army colonel who served his country with valor in Iraq, who thought nothing of facing down armed fighters without flinching, and who carries a weapon for his own self-protection, can become so defensive when confronted with a verbal onslaught by a self-described Jewish mom from Plantation.

Maybe Mr. West felt that taking lip from a mouthy female was beneath the dignity of a United States Congressman, or maybe he determined that criticism of his policies amounted to insubordination in the ranks.

It’s up to Ms. Wasserman Schultz to decide whether she deserves an apology, but it would better serve the American people, the interests of the State of Florida, Mr. West’s constituents, and his own effectiveness as a politician if he restricted his comments to legitimate criticism of policies he disagrees with. He may not realize it, but Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s life experiences make her every bit as worthy of respect as his do him.

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July 19, 2011

Chan Lowe: Tea party bomb throwers

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It helps to look at the tea party congressional freshmen, who form the core of the opposition to a sane, reasonable resolution to the debt ceiling problem, the way one looks at terrorists: individuals who are so committed to their cause that their own martyrdom in its service is considered an acceptable sacrifice.

These are especially dangerous groups, because in the past both the political process and the nation’s security have been predicated on the idea that the actors wish to live to see another day. When some guy lights his shoe on an airplane, or pursues a catastrophic political course in the name of his dogma without caring if he’s reelected, it becomes much more difficult to defend the established order.

The problem is that both terrorist and tea party freshman believe the world will be a better place if they get their way, whether others agree with them or not. In the political case, the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans favors compromise over default means nothing if a sacred balanced budget can be attained through deep cuts and no increase in revenue.

Some of these freshmen have said, “I didn’t come to Washington to get reelected. I came here to fix the problem,” which sounds noble, except that reelected they surely will not be once their constituents start having to do without the programs they’ve come to take for granted.

Yes, it was an angry electorate that vaulted these people into Congress. But you ain’t seen angry until those checks stop arriving.

Meanwhile, the damage the zealots could wreak would be lasting.

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July 18, 2011

Chan Lowe: Casey Anthony cashes in, Pt. II

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I said a few days ago that I hoped the previous Casey Anthony cartoon I drew would be the final one, but this is the gift that keeps on giving.

Ms. Anthony left the Orange County Jail with five hundred dollars and change in her bank account. This isn’t likely to last long. It could become a case study in modern merchandising techniques for marketing students, everything from a porn video franchise to the toys in Happy Meals.

Americans will gobble it all up, and they’ll hate themselves for every penny they spend.

POSTED IN: Florida Issues (258), General Topics (188)

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July 15, 2011

Chan Lowe: Republican campaign pledge fever

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Here’s your problem, which is actually several problems rolled into one: You’re a Republican, running for president. You’re either so naïve, or your messiah complex is so in need of servicing, that you actually think you can run the country. Not just run it, but improve it. On top of that, you think you can do a better job of running it and improving it than anyone else in the race.

Any one of these things is enough to make you a pariah at a cocktail party, but in this context you’re taken semi-seriously, particularly if you’re able to scare up money in support of your delusion or are willing to throw in plenty of your own.

So, you’re set to bequeath your sterling personality to a nation that you believe clearly needs you, when WHAP!⎯the Iowa caucuses smack you in the face. They’re the first big hurdle, and if you don’t make a respectable showing in Iowa, the American People, unfortunately, will move on, never knowing how close they came to choosing a great leader.

Now your biggest problem is no longer psychological, it’s strategic. Everybody knows Iowa has more than its fair share of wing nuts. Flat-earthers, anti-Darwinists, states-rights paranoids, marriage purists. It’s a toxic fact that they and their hogs are all concentrated into this one bucolic state, and it happens to come first in the hit parade.

You have to win here at all costs, so you do what any ambitious pol does: you pander. But this is the information age. Today’s pander may please the bumpkins who slog to the caucuses in midwinter, but that same pander in an Internet video six months from now, during the general election, could make you look like a Neanderthal elsewhere⎯that is, if there ever were Neanderthals, which most Iowa Republicans know is a myth right up there with the Tooth Fairy.

If you can finesse this one, maybe you deserve to be president.

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July 14, 2011

Chan Lowe: Michele Bachmann's therapy session

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Cultural conservatives are unwilling to accept, or even to entertain, the notion that same-sex attraction is programmed into one’s biological makeup the same as eye color, or a preference for anchovies. To continue to insist that being gay is a willful choice, or at least the result of confusion or weakness, allows one to develop a so-called moral argument that gayness is a sin that can be conditioned out the way one housebreaks a dog.

Let us set aside Scripture for a moment. To use “Because the Bible says so,” as a basis for discussion is like shooting craps with loaded dice, particularly since many people don’t accept the Bible’s words as sacred, and the Constitution, at least for the moment, still says it can’t be shoved down our throats. Conservatives like to argue that the sole purpose of marriage is procreation, and therefore same-sex marriage is a crime against society.

So we’ll pretend that’s true. What happens to people who marry when one is biologically unable to be a parent? Are they sinners? What about a straight couple that marries so late in life they can no longer have children? Would it have been more moral for them to just move in together? By the way, that’s called “living in sin.” Which is worse?

As long as we’re talking morality, let's look at the problems of the Earth with a universal, dispassionate eye. Since most of our banes⎯pollution, starvation, wars over dwindling resources⎯stem from overpopulation, it could be argued from a moral standpoint that procreating willy-nilly is a sin because it adds to humanity’s misery.

In other words, those who marry, knowing that they are biologically unable to have children except through adoption, are on the side of the angels.

Uh-oh.

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July 13, 2011

Chan Lowe: Rogue tea partiers

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It’s like the movie, Chucky. The ventriloquist’s dummy acquires a vengeful mind of its own, and turns on its masters.

Chucky is today’s tea party. Created, bought and paid for by corporate and Wall Street fat cats to keep their taxes down and enable them to maximize the accumulation of wealth, the puppet has begun doing its job too well. It has taken the tax pledge so much to heart that it has now painted itself, its patrons and the nation into a corner of its own making.

Frantic letters are being sent and backroom pressure applied by worried plutocrats, calling upon the tea party freshmen to bend on the tax issue and avoid a default. “For God’s sake,” they plead, “don’t kill the goose! If you push this too far, the economy will crash, and that won’t be good for anybody. Even we won’t be able to weather it. We’re willing to take a small hit to keep the golden eggs coming!”

But the tea partiers aren’t listening to their paymasters anymore. The benighted populace, especially Republican congressional primary voters, has swallowed the simplistic and seductive line it was fed about lower taxes boosting the economy, and it is as easy to turn around as a battleship being steered by blind helmsman.

Wake up, Congressional Tax Patriots! You’re behind the curve. If this country goes over the cliff, the yahoos will blame you, because they always need a scapegoat for their problems. Obama and the Democrats will be happy to endlessly replay videos of your intransigence to convince them. The ruling class will repudiate you for not obeying, and will withdraw campaign funding from former toadies gone rogue.

Remember, you need five years in Congress to qualify for that cushy federal pension. If you’re thrown out of office after only two, everybody loses.

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July 12, 2011

Chan Lowe: Art?...in public places

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One of the advantages (or maybe it’s a disadvantage) of being a member of the same editorial board for 27 years is that you develop an institutional memory.

One memory I would have preferred to let slip away is from the 1980s, when the Broward County Commission first passed its Art in Public Places ordinance. In the name of beautifying our sometimes less-than-esthetically-pleasing metropolitan surroundings, it was decreed that a certain percentage (one or two percent⎯that I can’t remember) of the total cost of any new government construction⎯be it a building, park, sewage treatment plant, or whatever⎯must be reserved to buy public art to decorate the place.

I think some board was constituted under the aegis of the county that would pass judgment upon the artistic worth of the submissions, and make the purchases. Anyway, one of the county’s first acquisitions under the program was a work titled New River Rising, wherein the sculptor had skimmed detritus from the surface and banks of said river, the kind of stuff you look at from your vessel and go, “EWWWW!” He had arranged it in an abstract manner on a big piece of canvas, added some painterly flourishes, and presented it to the commission along with a bill for $60,000 (this was back when sixty grand in taxpayer money was still worth something).

We had an arts critic at the time, and he was present when the editorial board met with the arts commission at their request. He really stuck it to them over New River Rising, I remember. They tried gamely to defend their decision, but it was really indefensible. If anything, the work in question didn’t need defending so much as fumigating. I think it ended up hanging over the stairwell of the county government building, because nobody knew what else to do with it. Maybe it’s still there.

By the way, if anyone thinks my suggestion for a beachfront sculpture above has merit, I hope they will feel free to approach the county commissioners and recommend it to them. I’ll be happy to sculpt it, and I’ll even give the county a discount⎯only fifty grand. A bargain.

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July 11, 2011

Chan Lowe: Tea party plays with matches

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Normally, inter-party one-upmanship in the halls of Congress is, like polo, a spectator sport that appeals to only a slim cohort of the general public. It shouldn’t be this way, but what with the demands on the average citizen’s time of making a living, raising a family, and other mundane tasks, most of us (unless we watch this stuff for a living) only have the luxury of tuning in for a couple of months right before a big election.

Unfortunately, the latest “crisis,” which could result in the nation’s default, is much more serious that usual and warrants our full attention. If we stop paying our bills on time, we will lose our worldwide financial credibility. For starters, we’ll have to pay more to borrow money from our Chinese bankers, for example, and everything we want or need is going to cost us more. Are we ready for a permanent recession?

I’m no economist, but I’ve been listening to experts who do know something, and they’re preaching dire consequences if we don’t raise the ceiling. There are a lot of people on the right who discount what they say, and they could be correct, but I don’t want to find out they’re wrong the hard way. It just isn’t worth the risk.

It’s ironic that it was intransigence about taxes on the part of the British crown that sparked the first tea party. Today, a group that styles itself after those original rebels is being equally intransigent over the very same topic. They happen to hold a lot of political sway in one of the houses of Congress, which doesn’t necessarily put them on the side of the angels.

Maybe it’s fitting that tea partiers helped pave the way for the birth of a great nation, and it’s tea partiers who may be leading it into eclipse.

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July 8, 2011

Chan Lowe: An imaginative way to win the war in Afghanistan

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While our defense policy cheeses are making esoteric arguments about whether an anti-terrorism strategy or an anti-insurgency strategy is the best way to “win” in Afghanistan, here’s a little outside-the-box thinking that achieves both goals simultaneously.

We have an almost endless supply of this psychological weapon here in South Florida, and another advantage to deploying it is that we will be able to withdraw from the field knowing that we are leaving a warlike, cantankerous people in a far better mood than when we arrived.

In defense doctrine, that’s called “peace with honor.”

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July 7, 2011

Chan Lowe: Casey Anthony cashes in?

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I’m hoping this is the last cartoon about Casey Anthony that I draw for a while. The problem is that, besides being a quasi-local story here in South Florida, the case shocks, amazes and disgusts at so many levels, and appeals to prurient interests at so many others, that it amounts to one-stop shopping for every public emotional need.

The latest development is the growing disgust and revulsion at the amount of money Casey stands to make from her notoriety. Those no-account news organizations, book publishers, porn flick producers, TV moviemakers, and the rest of the bottom feeders are all beating a path to her cell. Of course, none of us would ever buy her book, see her movie, or listen to her interviews, never in a million years.

“What, never?”
“No, never!”
“What, never?”
“Well, hardly ever!”

Those words, from the operetta H.M.S. Pinafore, are by the lyricist W.S. Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan fame, and he knew something about human foibles. It’s germane in this instance that these two gentlemen wrote another number, Let The Punishment Fit The Crime, from The Mikado. In it, Gilbert promotes ingenious penalties perfectly suited to all manner of social transgressions, like sentencing pool sharks to spend their lives playing with twisted cues and elliptical billiard balls.

While Casey only has to spend another week or so in jail, it would be most delicious if, upon her release, America’s favorite narcissist would have to tramp from door to door, soliciting customers for her story, only to be turned down everywhere by companies afraid of being tarred by any association with her.

Finally, she would be reduced to selling reverse mortgages or labor saving kitchen devices on late-night TV.

To continue the musical analogy, this time with Lerner and Loewe: “Wouldn’t it be loverly?”

POSTED IN: Florida Issues (258), General Topics (188)

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July 6, 2011

Chan Lowe: The Casey Anthony verdict II

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There’s a thin line between justice and vengeance. I’ve been thinking about that a lot since the Anthony verdict yesterday, and it occurs to me that the former is really a codified, organized, legalized form of the latter. “Justice” is an attempt to apply the constraint of convention, tradition, fairness, reason and logic to what is essentially a human, emotional desire for retribution. It also interposes the legal entity of the state between accused and collective accusers.

A lot of trial observers were bent on vengeance, not justice, and when the system didn’t deliver, they blamed it for denying them their satisfaction. One woman who was interviewed on the street outside the courthouse said she was from Pinellas County (where the jury was impaneled), and had shirked her jury duty, much to her regret. “I might have been on that jury, and I would have hung it,” she said.

It’s precisely that kind of closed thinking that the system, imperfect as it is, is designed to protect us from. Yes, at times, it has allowed people to “get away with murder,” but the reasoning is that that is preferable to incarcerating or executing an innocent person.

And is it ever imperfect. I couldn’t help but wonder if the verdict might have been different if, instead of a pretty young girl, Casey Anthony were ugly and toothless, or black, or Hispanic, or fat. She benefited from every built-in leniency the system can provide. Maybe the jury couldn’t bring itself to sentence such a person to death, and worked backwards from that to find holes in the state’s argument. Who knows? I’ll bet even the jurors themselves couldn’t answer that question candidly.

Meanwhile, justice was served. Vengeance will have to wait for another day.


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July 5, 2011

Chan Lowe: The Casey Anthony verdict

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I was in the middle of drawing this when the verdict was announced. Where else but in America can you can be tried, convicted and sentenced in the media and the court of public opinion, then found not guilty by a jury that’s been living in a vacuum tube for the last eight weeks? It’s a triumph of our legal system, if you ask me.

Now that Ms. Anthony is about to be a free woman again, I presume that she’ll be inundated with offers for books, movie rights, reality shows, and God knows what all. Since she was found not guilty, none of those “Son of Sam” laws prohibiting personal enrichment from one’s crimes apply in this case.

Being reasonably attractive, she’s set for life as a public media figure, with certain caveats. Her personal protection budget will have to be stratospheric, because there are no doubt plenty of vigilantes set on finishing the job they feel the prosecutors and the jury bungled. Nancy Grace alone probably wants to claw her eyes out. Since she’s young, her life will be in danger for many decades. Also, there's no doubt she’ll want to spend some money on detectives to find the real killer of her daughter. If they do, maybe the need for bodyguards will diminish.

As for the rest of the cast, George and Cindy are probably already working on their books. Jose Baez, yesterday’s goat, is now the toast of the criminal defense community, and will have plenty of work for the rest of his days. The jurors are getting booked for exclusives by all the networks.

The prosecutors may have lost the case, but they still have their jobs, which is more than nine percent of the U.S. population can boast.

The only one who really got short shrift here was Roy Kronk, America’s most famous meter reader, who somehow wasn’t able to collect on the reward for finding the body.

Oh, and Caylee Marie Anthony, of course.

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July 1, 2011

Chan Lowe: Celebrating the Fourth

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Some people don’t understand why we celebrate the freeing of our nation from the oppression of the British crown with fireworks, particularly when every year, people accidentally blow off limbs and set fire to property in the course of their private independence festivities.

They don’t understand the barbecuing, beer-drinking bacchanal that is associated with such a seemingly solemn event. One of my dyspeptic colleagues calls it “Redneck Christmas.”

They think we ought to spend the day in contemplation of and thanksgiving for the enlightened foresight that brought a polyglot, multicultural band of people together under the umbrella of shared respect for the rights of all mankind. That we should pause to remember that America is a place where our differences are celebrated and cherished, and where we can work out our disagreements in a spirit of brotherly cooperation, forging compromises through our representative government that reflect goodwill toward all and malice toward none.

What a crock. First, take a look at our so-called representative government these days and see if there’s anything to be proud of.

Second, if you really want to celebrate the Fourth properly, grab a pistol, shoot it into the air, and let some other slob worry about where the bullets fall. Now that, by God, is the American Way.

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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