Memorial Day

We’ve all been there. On the bus, on the train, standing on the street, waiting for the light to change. And that guy…you know the one, that guy with the vaguely threatening air starts ranting. Maybe he’s just ranting. Maybe he is being aggressive towards someone. And we quietly edge away, hoping he won’t direct his venom at us, hoping that the light will change, that he’ll move on. But this Memorial Day…this day when we honor those who lost their lives in the service of our country…

This Memorial Day, we watch in horror as one Democratic norm after another gets thrown under the bus.

On this day, when we learn that one of the men who lost his life defending a stranger on a Portland Oregon streetcar, was an Army veteran, we learn a new meaning to the phrase service to our country. Neither he, nor the other two young men who stepped up to defend two teenage girls who were being harassed on the streetcar, turned their backs and said this is not my fight.

The young man who was killed by this attacker had just graduated and was at the start of a promising life. He stepped up to protect two young women, one African American, the other wearing a hijab, who were being verbally attacked by that guy, he made it his business to defend people he did not know. A third defender is still in the hospital in critical condition. I am sending light and healing his way.

In the face of seemingly state sanctioned hatred, love and compassion still exists.

A GoFundMe campaign for the families of the three victims has raised over $700,000 in less than 48 hours. There is still good in the world. I will have to hold on to that.

And meanwhile, back in the land of Panda Satire….

Memorial day

Don’t be endangered, be dangerous

Panda On!
Bob T Panda

15 thoughts on “Memorial Day

  1. JoAnn Alberts

    One of your BEST and that’s saying something! Thank you for acknowledging the bravery of the three people coming to the aid of the girls being harassed. Our current administration seems to ignore and belittle what America’s values are and will be again. Playing to the ignorance and hate is the easy thing to do. Speaking up and writing about the right thing is difficult but transforming. Thank you for using your satire and writing to encourage us all to do the “right thing”!

    Reply
    1. Panda in Chief Post author

      I’m not sure I would have felt brave enough to do what these men did. In fact, I know I’m not. I think that the flip side of the permission that seems to have been given to bigotry and hatred, is that more people are willing to step up and defend and to speak out.

      The sad truth is that women have always felt threatened from time to time, and some almost constantly, depending on their circumstances. We learn to attempt invisibility instead of standing up. Not everyone who is a bigoted asshole is going to be a homicidal maniac. This time he was, and two brave, principled people are dead.

      Thank you for all your kind words, and for continuing to resist the dark forces.
      Panda on!

      Reply
    1. Panda in Chief Post author

      Thank you. Every once in a while, I feel moved to say something serious. I am always relieved when it connects with someone.

      Reply
  2. Gina Koo

    I love this post and ‘toon! Too many of us are fearful of the “what if” – What if I got involved and ended up being the one in the wrong? What if I got involved and got hurt? What if I got involved when there wasn’t anything to worry about in the first place? Or worse yet, What if I got involved if the victim didn’t want to be saved?
    Oh, how I wish that all of the animals, endangered or not, could one day take revenge on those who victimized them.

    Reply
    1. Panda in Chief Post author

      Those fears are part of being human and female in this world. I keep going back to the bravery those men displayed in standing up, and how much fear those young women must have felt. We can only do what our heart tells us is true.
      Peace and pandas.

      Reply
  3. Cathy Roglitz

    Beautiful, Anne, I heard one of the witnesses give an incredible account of the situation. He was one that witnessed it and couldn’t do anything to help. The heroism described brought tears. But, the one thing he wanted everyone to remember is this was a “terrorist attack”. It was not as we think of such things…but, terrorism comes in many forms and while witnessing everything, to him it was clear. These young men died heroes. What has happen to our wonderful country?

    Reply
    1. Panda in Chief Post author

      I immediately felt that it was a terrorist attack, when I read a reporter’s profile of the suspect from a recent earlier event. Just because the Republican administration has declared that white supremecists don’t fit their definition of terrorist, most of us recognize the game of semantics and attempting to legitimize this part of their base.
      I wish I knew what has happened here. This element of society has always been here, but the words that came out of DT’s mouth were like a call to action for these …I hate even to call them people, but to call them animals insults animals everywhere.
      We all have a bad case of the DT’s and I don’t seem to be able to sleep it off. There is a great piece by Dan Rather making the rounds. I’ll try to find it and link to it later this week. He chooses hope. So do I.

      Reply
  4. Sweetg12651

    Great piece today Anne. Thanks for putting my thoughts and feelings in print because, like the bystanders on the Portland train, I wouldn’t have been brave enough to do it myself.

    As for the two sons – Bill Maher got it right when he referred to them as Uday and Qusay.

    Reply
  5. Vicky V

    It took one nasty prime minister to be elected in the late 90’s for everything to change in Australia. We’ve been dealing with violence against minorities on public transport and in public ever since. The election of the orange menace has made it worse. People here are more emboldened than ever. But a backlash is coming. I’m not sure what has changed but more people are seeing what is happening here and they don’t like it. I’ve often wondered what I would do if I saw someone being attacked. I’d like to think I would intervene but the thought of being hurt or killed does strike fear in me. This is why what happened in Portland is a terrorist act. These arseholes seek to terrorise the people and make us afraid to act or speak out. But as we saw, there are people who will act to protect others and they will pay for that with their lives. They are heroes and there are more of them than there are terrorists. Thank you for your beautiful words honouring their bravery and their sacrifice.
    On a lighter note I totally love your cartoon! I’ve always nurtured myself with thoughts of horrible things happening to poachers and game hunters. When mother nature gives them pay back it makes me even happier 🙂 I stand with the animals!

    Reply
    1. Panda in Chief Post author

      And we always thought you Australians were so nice. Must be the accents. That’s probably why so many murderers run amok in British mysteries. No one can believe someone who talked like that could be wicked.
      Linguistic stereotypes aside, while it is completely distressing that this is not just our problem, there is also hope in that people are rising up and speaking out against injustice.

      As a person…um…panda, who has always overthought things way too much, one does start to wonder, “what if I AM wrong???” But now, I’m still pretty sure that it is cruel and inappropriate to verbally or physically attack someone who is just minding their own business.

      What’s really distressing (well besides absolutely everything DT says and does) is that the leader of the country is supposed to set a good example. I get that I am not going to agree with everything a president does, even if he is the person I voted for. (And to be absolutely clear, this is not the case currently.) But this guy….oy vey. I hardly know what shit is going to hit the fan next.

      Reply
      1. Vicky V

        Haha! We Aussies are like our native animals – we look so sweet and approachable but we’re really quite vicious 😉

        You actually hit the nail on the head with your bit about a leader needing to set a good example. Australians have always been – as British comedian John Olivier described us (in that lovely British voice) – casually racist. Each wave of migrants and refugees has had to pass initiation trials – must like university hazing. They are bullied and accused of not fitting in etc and then next thing you know they are part of our multicultural melting pot. But enter one leader who takes that to a new level and leads the people toward hatred, bigotry and fear of others and you have modern Australia – a place where one of our most revered female Olympians told an Australian born sportsman to go back to where his parents came from. Wow! Ironically, his parents were born in two different countries because hey, Australia is a multicultural country!

        The difference I see between Australia and America is that it has taken a long time for us to start questioning our xenophobia – and we still have a long way to go. But what I see in America is an immediate response to the orange menace with marches, protests and fundraisers starting the moment something nasty gets announced. He hasn’t captured the soul of your country and I don’t think he will. The real threat is going to be what happens in world politics and the possibility of wars breaking out. That is the real scary stuff. But that’s always been the worry regardless of who is in charge.

        On a pleasant note I am seeing my sister on Sunday for afternoon tea. She has just come back from a visit to China, which included a visit to the pandas in Chengdu! Apparently she has photos of toddler pandas she wants to show me – just the thought of toddler pandas has turned my brain into jelly, and ice cream and cuppycakes 🙂

        Reply
        1. Panda in Chief Post author

          “He hasn’t captured the soul of your country and I don’t think he will.”

          This is one of the most hopeful statements I’ve read, and seeing us from outside of the US experience, gives you a different view from inside. I am hoping this is true. Thank you for this perspective. (and I adore John Oliver!) The marches and demonstrations give me hope that we are not asleep at the wheel, and the bravery of those men in Portland was the best of America.

          And yes, I have heard koalas are quite nasty little beasts, fuzzy ears and big noses aside.

          I hope your sister left some pandas for me! hee hee! Bring on the cuppycakes.

          Reply

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