He’s a columnist, syndicated editorial cartoonist and author who sometimes causes controversies. At one point calling for the resignation of President Obama, he has taken swipes at both parties. Some would say he’s an equal opportunity offender.
But who is Ted Rall?
“The one question we are most unqualified to answer is: why are we the way that we are?” Rall said. “Honestly, I only have rough guesses as to why I am so committed to what I do. All I know is, I don’t see the point of being involved in anything unless I do it completely. I love cartooning, I love politics and I care deeply about the things I care deeply about, and so I speak out as loudly as possible.”
And back to that earlier comment about offending everyone?
“I don’t seek to offend anyone,” Rall assured. “That’s not what I’m after. However, if I have something important to say, I’m not afraid to risk creating enemies. So, in that sense, yes, you’re totally right, I am an equal opportunity offender. In my view, all the best commentators and cartoonists are. Which means, of course, there aren’t very many good ones.”
Can you tell he’s pretty outspoken?
The right calls him a liberal, the left, conservative, to Ted, that’s a wonderful place to be.
“I lean more left than right, especially on economic issues, and Obama has been extremely bad for the left,” Rall said. “I hate the fact he has neutered the Democratic Party and the liberal movement. If George W. Bush were still president, and spying on the public the way that the NSA has been doing, and assassinating American citizens with drones, and keeping Guantánamo open, and so on, you can be damn sure progressives would be protesting in the streets.”
Wait, it gets better.
“The only reason you aren’t seeing anger on the left is Obama is a Democrat,” Rall continued. “But part of my contempt for this president is his specific historical circumstance, namely as the guy who took office in the middle of a massive economic crisis that still hasn’t run its course. This guy is out running around golfing and hanging out with billionaires, while at the same time millions of Americans have lost their homes and are suffering due to unemployment and underemployment. It’s unconscionable.”
Ted is in town to plug his new book, “After We Kill You, We Will Welcome You Back as Honored Guests: Unembedded” at Books & Co. at The Greene at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 2.
“The new book uses America’s longest war – the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan – as a case study of why interventionism is such a bad idea, even though the United States is addicted to it,” Rall explained. “Drawing on my personal experience traveling among ordinary Afghans, I compare the state of the nation of Afghanistan from the end of the beginning of the war – the fall of 2001, just before the fall of Kabul, to 2010, which became the beginning of the end of the war, because that was the year that Obama announced Americans would be withdrawing.
“So, the book is an effort to look at how the lives of ordinary Afghans have changed from 2001 to the present,” he continued, “and to reflect the fact that whatever promise there was in the initial intervention – getting rid of terrorism, closing down training camps, a new Marshall plan to show the Muslim world the benefits of modernity – has pretty much evaporated due to corruption and the sad fact that Afghanistan and the Afghan people were a low priority for both the Bush and the Obama administrations.
And the message from the book?
“That the United States should think long and hard before it invades a foreign country, especially one that it hasn’t done his homework about.” Rall said.
This is a homecoming for Rall of sorts.
“Yes, that’s correct,” Rall said. “I have done signings there before, which is a stones-throw away from where I grew up, and close to Fairmont High School (when I went there, it was Fairmont West). Of course I love the store – by any objective standard, it is a great independent bookstore – but yes, it is gratifying to come back home, and catch up with old friends and new friends. I have really come to appreciate Dayton and Kettering as I have grown up, and I really look forward to this appearance.”
By the way, Rall’s political cartooning was influenced by Dayton’s own Mike Peters.
My last question is a preverbal one.
If this was all taken from you tomorrow, the cartooning, writing, etc., and you dropped off the face of the planet, how would you like your friends and fans to remember you?
“Well, that’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s inevitable. Every career comes to an end; every life comes to an end. I don’t expect to be remembered long, since life goes on, and there is always something new to distract us, but I would like people to think I was a guy who was willing to take chances physically and intellectually, who cared about the truth more than my own ego or my income and, more than anything else, I made people think about things in a new way.”
That’s why I’m writing for the Dayton City Paper.
How ’bout that?
Cheers and welcome home Ted.
Ted Rall will be at Books and Co., 4453 Walnut St., on Thursday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. For more information, please visit rall.com.
A regionally known and loved local television icon for over 25 years, “Buch’s” followers describe him as trust-worthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention!
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