Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sequestration: No Honeymoon in Niagara Falls

Mischa Richter, Uncle Sam and Miss Liberty in a Barrel

I purchased this drawing by cartoonist Mischa Richter in 2008 on a whim purely because I liked it. It's a cartoon rough, of course, rather than a finished drawing, and it resembles a series of published New Yorker gags from the early 1990's in which Uncle Sam and the Statue of Liberty trade quips, much like an old married couple. I have no idea what contemporary events prompted Richter to conceive this one, with Sam and Miss Liberty going over a waterfall together in a barrel, but it seems it wasn't deemed quite right for the magazine at the time.

Today the news from Washington shows our elected representatives facing a dire crisis entirely of their own making. The current battle over sequestration is one of a series of increasingly reckless, self-inflicted wounds that threatens our security, our economy, and our government's ability to meet its most basic obligations. This sad situation has come about not out of necessity but by choice, with one political party putting its ideology above the needs of the country. Again.

Perhaps our representatives will come to an agreement before Friday's deadline, and perhaps this time they won't. Perhaps they'll do a temporary fix again and we'll face another artificial crisis in a few weeks. Either way, our fragile democracy seems increasingly dysfunctional. Anyway, this just might be a good time to share Mischa Richter's once-again relevant cartoon, in the increasingly vain hope that it will not reflect our nation's true condition come Friday.

Mischa Richter, Uncle Sam and Miss Liberty in a Barrel


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