Plants, Progeny, Politics

Liza Donnelly
3 min readOct 11, 2023

One could argue that the Democrats have better environmental policy, so the tree is a Democrat. But would its leaves be, as well? Often progeny (which leaves are not, but bear with me here) do not follow in their parent’s political footsteps. In fact they often rebel and have political views that are the opposite of their parents.

This was a New Yorker cartoon from a fairly recent issue.

I don’t recall when I realized what party my parents were in — or even that they were in the same political party — it just became apparent. We had a rule in our house that one did not share whom one voted for, or at least one didn’t ask others about it. Maybe that had to do with Nixon. I learned many years later my father voted for him the second time, and then regreted it. McGovern was the Democratic candidate in 1972; I never asked him what it was about McGovern he didn’t like. That we could be back in time and talk to our loved ones!

Party affiliation is fraught now. I have vague memories that haunt me about Goldwater in 1964, that he was an evil man and not to be trusted. The jungle gym at my elementary school was separated (by kids) into those whose parents were for Goldwater and those whose parents were for Johnson. I knew who we were for (Johnson), but I avoided the jungle gym- I didn’t like that display of affiliation.

I have a lot of drawings on this subject, perhaps because it’s about human nature and our desire to feel a part of something. However, when I first registered to vote, even though I was liberal, I registered as an Independent because I didn’t think that the two parties were that different. Now they certainly are. This New Yorker cartoon from 1995 is one of my favorites. I forget what was happening at the time.

What’s going on within the GOP, specifically in the House of Representatives, is a nightmare. Jim Jordan, who is running for Speaker, tried to help Trump and company mount an coup on January 6th. He should not be Speaker. I believe the radical right is trying to continue the coup from inside.

Hope you all are safe.

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Liza Donnelly

Visual journalist/writer for New Yorker, New York Times, WaPo, CNN. TED, SXSW speaker. Looking to change world w humor. newsletter:https://lizadonnelly.substack