I believe strongly in the power of a well-placed political cartoon. When I first started Two Party Opera, I talked about Ben Franklin in the 18th century, Thomas Nast in the 19th, and Herblock in the 20th. Pillars of the form. People unafraid to fight power with pictures where words couldn’t land. There’s a lot of great artists today as well, but an even greater amount of people who… well, you’ve seen them.

A never-ending stream of toothless cartoons that say nothing. Or repeat the same obvious take of the issue. And this exists on all sides of the political spectrum and they do nothing to push the art form forward, but just keep it on life support long enough not to offend a publisher. It’s equal parts lazy and dangerous.

Rob Rogers is one of the good ones. And when he was recently fired from his 25-year-position at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for doing exactly what he’s supposed to be doing, I think we all felt the wave of panic about what it could mean for the future.

But I also think we need better political cartoons, not that I’m claiming Two Party Opera as some sort of gold standard (it’s not). But it’s going to be a long uphill battle if we have to fight for the very existence of this medium when everyday we get a hundred new variations of simplistic “Trump is bad” or “Trump is good” comics.

So join me and Ben Franklin this week as we attempt to deconstruct the modern political cartoon.