A few of you have written to tell me Lemont’s last line is insensitive and/or inaccurate. Insensitive? Maybe. But if you’re looking for “Sensitive-ville,” that’s a few miles down the road. I don’t believe in walking on egg shells about the truth, and this is as accurate as analogies can get. This is a succinct way to describe the disorder that’s afflicted our country since the Revolution. Delusions of equality and liberty on the one hand; and on the other, feelings of utter hopelessness and helplessness by those who didn’t receive either (and their descendants).
Some of the symptoms of a manic episode: a person may feel he’s on a mission from God, that he’s been chosen for some special, grandiose purpose; and that that warrants his aggressive, intrusive actions. This is the point at which you should be Googling “Manifest Destiny,” “The War of 1812,” “The Mexican-American War,” the “Spanish-American War,” the “Vietnam War,” “slavery,” and… hell, just Google “American History.”
Some symptoms of the depressive episode, from Wikipedia (I know, I know, but look it up anywhere, and it’s the same set of symptoms): Chronic feelings of sadness, anxiety, guilt, anger, isolation, or hopelessness. For eight decades, this described not only the slaves and the Native Americans… but America’s abolitionists and those who felt slavery was a necessary evil. And it’s a succinct depiction of what afflicts so many descendants of slaves today, and so many descendants of slave-owners.
Whether it afflicts an individual or a society, mental illness is a hard thing to talk about. In both cases, most would rather pretend it doesn’t exist. In both cases, the mere mention of it stirs up accusations of “insensitivity” by those who’d rather ignore the problem away.
Anyone who’s read the strip for any length of time should know Candorville‘s not into ignoring problems away.