I regard the Washington Post’s Tom Toles as our nation’s premier political cartoonist, and he impressed me again recently with a cartoon alluding to Alice through the Looking Glass. As you can see, Trump is cast in the role of Humpty Dumpty (“Trumpty Dumpty”), who declares that words mean what he chooses them to mean.
Meanwhile, two of his primary enablers, Rudy Giovanni (Tweedle Ru-Dee) and Mitch McConnell (Twiddle-Thumb), stand close by to do his bidding. And the red ink of a trillion dollar deficit—brought to you by a party that once railed against deficits–runs as fast as the Red Queen.
What has occurred? According to the GOP elephant, Republicans don’t like looking at themselves in the looking glass. Rather than face up to what it reveals, they have entered a land of make believe. Everything you thought you knew, they inform you, is just the opposite.
In Carroll’s looking glass world, you must walk in the opposite direction to get where you want to go. You appear to run very fast but don’t actually go anywhere, and (if you are the White Queen), life goes backward.
In the GOP’s own looking glass world, extortion phone calls are perfect, Trump fights corruption while Biden abets it, and the president is trying to protect insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions rather than destroy it. Looking into the mirror and seeing only what they want to see, GOP legislators resemble the politicians that King Lear speaks of to the blinded Gloucester:
Get thee glass eyes;
And like a scurvy politician, seem
To see the things thou dost not.
Seeing is a running theme in King Lear. At the beginning of the play, the loyal Kent is banished for telling his king to “see better.” None of Trump’s followers have been as direct as Kent, and he has surrounded himself with sycophants like Oswald. Goneril’s steward will see whatever his superiors want him to see, even if it means killing an old blind man.
For a while, Alice is thrown off balance by the looking glass world. If Trumpty Dumpty ever falls, however, none of the GOP’s horses and none of its men will be able to put him together again.