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Auchter's Art

John Auchter

Ideas for cartoons can come from the oddest places.

This past Sunday, I was working on setting up our hammock in the backyard for the summer season and went down to the basement to collect the pieces. 

John Auchter / Auchtoon.com

Artist's POV: Last week the Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill to allow most gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit or training. 

John Auchter
Auchtoon.com

Artist's POV: The Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan is an organization that serves as a go-to resource for mental health awareness and education. A special area of focus is teen suicide prevention, which it addresses through an anti-bullying initiative called "be nice."

Auchter's Art: Slashing Budgets
JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

My wife and I have a Japanese maple we planted several years ago in our yard. It's been a nice little tree — generally healthy, somewhat sturdy (our cats like to climb to the top and pretend they're vultures), but it's never really grown. 

JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

Freedom is essential for a happy life and true success. I don't think most would argue with that. But like most good things, freedom can be appropriated for self-serving purposes.

John Auchter / Auchtoon.com

My inner dialogue for this week's cartoon —

Rational Me (RE): Let's please do something without Donald Trump in it. There's just so much going on with him right now, our cartoon might just get lost in the news swirl.

Emotional Me (EM): Absolutely. I'm on overload with that <redacted> and besides drawing him kinda make us queasy.

Auchter's Art: Benefits Race to the Bottom
JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

Ugh! This again! So earlier this week the story broke that Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof and Speaker of the House Tom Leonard were making cuts to teacher retirement benefits a top priority in the state budget. Specifically, they want to transfer what is now a state-backed pension into a 401k plan for new hires.

JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

Nothing Donald Trump does should surprise anybody. His behavior is erratic, certainly, but highly predictable. 

He has spent a lifetime demonstrating in a very public way that acting in his own self-interest is his default mode, his plan B, his alternate route, his "upon further consideration," and so on. Look it up — it's right there in his books, his shows, and his copious media coverage.

JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

ARTIST'S POV: After three years of the Flint water crisis, fatigue has set in — first and foremost, for the citizens of Flint who have had to live with the daily grind and persistent worries. But also for Michiganders living outside and looking in. 

John Auchter

CARTOONIST'S POV:

When my son was three years-old, he had an astonishingly straightforward way of expressing himself. If he was busy doing something and we told him it was time to do something else (go to bed, get in the car, take a bath, whatever), he would just look at us, incredulous, and say, "But I want to do what I want to do."

Sometimes he would repeat it. Slowly. Because we didn't seem to understand the perfect logic, as if to say: "How are you people not getting this? Are you that dense?!"

JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

ARTIST'S POV: Legislation was recently introduced in the state House to make Michigan a "constitutional carry" state. House Bills 4416-4419 would relax gun laws to allow many Michiganders to conceal firearms without having to get a concealed pistol license. It's kind of a melding of concealed carry with less restrictive open carry rules.

John Auchter / Auchtoon.com

We're nearing the end of the season of Lent, and for Catholics (and others who participate in the Lenten practice of "giving up stuff") this is around the time we tend to lose focus and start to obsess about the beer or chocolate or whatever we pledged to eschew for 40 days.

John Auchter / Achtoon.com

ARTIST'S POV: When I was a kid I remember seeing a "man on the street" segment on TV interviewing people about the value of seat belts. 

Auchter's Art

Mar 17, 2017
John Auchter / Auchtoon.com

Artist's POV: Have you ever had to endure an interview for a job you knew you were not going to get, or an audition for a part you were certain was going to somebody else? You had absolutely no chance but you were obligated to go through the motions.

John Auchter / auchtoon.com

ARTISTS POV: The one clear positive from President Trump's proposed budget: It's bringing Michiganders closer together. The budget proposal the White House sent to Congress last week suggests cutting the budget of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) from $300 million per year to $10 million per year.

JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

Probably the easiest way for editorial cartoonists to get readers on their side is to make a general target of politicians.

You know, not really saying anything, but instead depending on people's recognition of the stereotype to do all the work — kind of like a hack standup comedian:

"And hey, what's up with those politicians? Have you seen these guys? They're killing me with their this and their that. Who's with me?! Am I right?!"

I do my best to avoid that.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Are you guys exhausted? I know I am.

I don't know that I can continue to maintain this level of political outrage. I mean, I draw editorial cartoons, so political outrage is something of a default mode. But lately — especially this past month — it's been like drinking from a fire hose. There is just so much to be relentlessly outraged about.

John Auchter

After last week's multi-panel, text-filled cartoon, I wanted to do something simple and quick (for your sake and for mine). And while I like it, and I think it makes its point, I will cop to the fact that it is not necessarily 100% accurate.

Mike Ilitch died this past week. He was a Michigan icon, born in Detroit to working-class immigrant parents. He and his wife Marian founded Little Caesars Pizza and grew it into a business empire. He was longtime owner and fierce supporter of our beloved Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers. 

John Aucher / AuchterToon.com

All of our money (as in United States of America legal tender) has the motto, "In God We Trust." Our coins also have "E pluribus unum" (out of many, one) and "Liberty." They are there, I believe, as reminders of who we are and would like to be as Americans.

It may get a little crowded (especially on the dime), but I humbly submit that we should add one more:

"We are a country of action; lies do not become us."

John Aucter / Auchtertoon.com

The topic for this week's cartoon started with news of Michigan Republican legislators pushing for tax cuts ahead of Governor Snyder presenting a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

It seemed irresponsible, given the challenges Michigan faces and the fact that they cannot ever seem to be bothered with identifying the budgets that would require corresponding cutting.

The governor, to his credit, pointed this out.

Auchter's Art: Free market capitalism charade

Jan 27, 2017
AUCHTOON.COM

See? See?! This is exactly why I think it's ridiculous to declare allegiance to any particular political party. Who they are and what they represent is a fluid thing — they change over time. Sometimes very, very quickly.

JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

One of the big downsides to January in Michigan is the annual State of the State address. We have not been blessed with governors who are accomplished orators, at least not during the time that I've been editorial cartooning.

John Engler was so bad it was actually part of his charm. (That may be the only published instance where you will see "charm" and "John Engler" in the same sentence.)

He was an effective behind-the-scenes guy who was clearly uncomfortable speechifying. You could almost see the thought balloon above his head as he talked

Auchtertoon.com

The Amazon TV-series The Man in the High Castle explores an America in which the Allies lost World War II and Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan rule over our country. A 2004 mockumentary, C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America, considers what might have happened if the South had won our Civil War. These sorts of alternate histories can be highly entertaining and also add perspective to real history through drama and satire.

Auchter's Art: Respect for government workers?

Jan 6, 2017
John Auchter

Earlier this week Governor Snyder offered President-elect Trump some unsolicited advice, as one businessperson who was new to public office to another: Respect that most government workers know what they’re doing.

John Auchter / www.auchtoon.com

ARTIST'S POV:

Here's hoping we get on the right side of history sooner rather than later in the new year. Cheers!

John Auchter is an editorial cartoonist. Views expressed in his cartoons are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management or the station licensee, The University of Michigan.

JOHN AUCHTER / WWW.AUCHTOON.COM

To all I wish peace, love, and good health this holiday season and throughout the new year!

For my fellow Christians, I also want to note that we have some big responsibilities in 2017. 

I mean, we always do, but because the election of Donald Trump was largely our doing, we owe it to ourselves and our country to be particularly attentive.

The election is finally and officially over, so no matter the reason we voted for Trump (a single issue, the lesser of two evils, wholehearted support), the reason no longer matters.

He will be the President.

Auchter / Auchtoons.com

You may think that I'm kidding about Flint hitting up Russia for a little help. I'm not sure that I am. It's been three years now. Three years of unsafe drinking water in Flint. Michigan. USA. And as recent stories on Michigan Radio will tell you, there is no clear indication as to when the situation will be totally fixed.

JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

In writing these little "support" articles for my cartoons over the years, more than a few readers have made a point of telling me how much they hate having the cartoon "explained" to them.

They feel the cartoon should stand on its own, and it definitely should. I get that. My intention is not to explain the cartoon but to add context to the subject, present a counter-view, or provide bonus value.

However, if you are one of those readers, you might want to move on, because I'm gonna straight-up explain this one.

AUCHTOON.COM

When the president-elect nominated Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education last week, the most obvious metaphor seemed to be the fox put in charge of the hen-house. I rolled that around in my head for awhile, but couldn't make it work.

I don't think DeVos is that carnivorous, or the education establishment that docile. (Plus drawing anthropomorphic characters is not really my strong suit. So, as is often the case, laziness wins.)

This cartoon worked much better because it reveals my main issue with the DeVos nomination: She's a crank.

Auchter's Art: Slicing up the voters

Nov 25, 2016
John Auchter / Auchtoon.com

Just one more cartoon on national political affairs, and I'll try to return my attention to more Michigan-based shenanigans. But I couldn't let this one go — it's been festering for some time.

There is not a whole lot to add because we've all just experienced it. For the entire election season Americans have been managed and categorized, sorted and labeled, diced and sliced by both major political parties.

We are not individual voters with actual thoughts and real concerns. We are herds of demographics who think in lock-step on singular issues.

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