First, let me state that nobody’s more disappointed in the presidential election than I am. More scared, nervous, distraught? Sure. More reason to be so? Absolutely. But I took this one hard. I’m inured to the pain a little because, in my first presidential election, I knocked on doors for Mondale-Ferraro. How so many people felt a week ago was how I felt the first Wednesday in November 1984. So I’ve been the one talking people down off of ledges, not one of them contemplating the leap.
Second, this post is all just my opinion. I’m not speaking for the whole BoroughCon leadership team today. If it helps you to picture me sitting on the barstool next to you, do that. (Or, if you’re local, hit me up in the comments. I got the first round.) Without going into too much detail, we span the political spectrum. And, in contrast to the rest of America, the older and whiter a member of the BoroughCrew is, the more liberal he’s likely to be.
This is strictly about tactics — actions that can be viewed objectively and judged dispassionately. And my message is this:
Boycotting comics conventions based on which column their venues’ electoral votes went is simply a stupid thing to do.
Let me unpack that a little but, first, let me catch you up on the news in case you missed it. Many sources, including Bleeding Cool, report that some comic artists are now declining to attend conventions in states where the majority of 2016 presidential ballots favored Donald Trump. So far, the big names are Humberto Ramos and George Perez. Others might join in. So let’s see how many layers of wrong we can uncover.
It accomplishes nothing except venting your anger. If you’d have said, “If Florida goes for Trump, I’m never appearing at Paradise City again!” then, yes, you ought to follow through with your threat. But you can’t tell people after they voted who they should have voted for. If you wanted to change people’s minds, you’re a few days too late. Even so, as there are more bullet points to follow, it probably wouldn’t have been the most effective tack.
It does little to protect you. Latino artists are rightfully unnerved about the spate of racist speech and acts leading up to and especially since the election. There are places I’d think twice about stepping into. Detroit’s Suburban Collection Showplace isn’t one of them. I know a little about this, by the way. The places where they’re not fond of “Mexicans” are the same places where they’ve got a thing or two to say about Jews. But I’ve spent time — a lot of time — in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas and most the rest of the Goober Belt (I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, for crying out loud!), and I’m still in one piece. Nobody’s named a dam after me yet. Meantime, you have to admit you’re just as likely to fall victim to foul play where Hillary carried the night.
It doesn’t distinguish between Trump’s supporters, Clinton’s and everyone else’s. So let me get this straight: You’re boycotting MegaCon, Dragon Con, Salt Lake Comic Con, Phoenix Comic Con and dozens of other events because you don’t like the way the attendees voted? No, scratch that. You don’t know how any of them voted. You can be pretty sure that tons of con-goers who are actually local to Orlando, Atlanta, SLC and Phoenix had nothing to do with Trump. You’re just punishing them for not reaching out to their friends and relatives in the outlying counties. Which is really hypocritical of you, considering the final bullet point.
It is an incredibly insular thing to do. Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro went on to epic defeat. They took only Mondale’s home state of Minnesota (not even Ferraro’s home state of New York!) and the District of Columbia. Ronald Reagan took the whole rest of the map. This wasn’t a squeaker we lost. It was the most humiliating of defeats. We should’ve been braced for it, but of course we weren’t. We were certain we were going to win! “How could we have lost?” we asked each other the next day. “Everybody we know voted for Mondale!”
So if everybody you know voted for Clinton, then you need to meet more people. It was her election to lose, so she lost it. And why? Because of the bubble of arrogance that both sides emanate. Why did so much of the country — including the no-longer-called “blue wall” states — go for Trump? The stuff he said was nonsensical in so many ways, but he bothered to talk to people. She didn’t — at least not about anything they cared about. If she could’ve expressed her positions better — and more frequently — to the people she expected to govern, she could’ve pulled this one out. But, as the old political maxim goes, “You can’t beat somebody with nobody.”
So sequential artists, wherever you live, wherever you’re from, whatever your politics, don’t walk out on America. You’ll leave too big a vacuum and, as scared as you might be at your reception in some locales, you should be even more scared of who or what fills that vacuum.