It's the second wretched summer of Donald Trump's presidency, and it is harder than ever to see his face every morning without either giving in to your darkest thoughts or tuning out completely.
But if you can put aside your Pavlovian responses long enough, consider scrolling through the online comic strip Decent Don (decentdon.com), drawn by Portland artist and musician JP Downer, which follows Trump in a different moral universe.
"He's not doing good deeds, per se," Downer says. "He's just being considerate to everyone else. He's actually much more considerate than I am in my day-to-day life."
Three panels at a time, "Don" comes across a moral quandary, makes the right decision and basks in healthy self-satisfaction. Sometimes that means merging right to let faster traffic go by, sometimes that means remaining silent when the man seated next to him in a waiting room passes gas. Or sometimes, simply meditating with increasing intensity.
The strip is neither topical nor political, which Downer says takes it "back to human basics," examining the Seinfeld-ian friction points of our daily lives. Its innocuous content means some Trump supporters have enthusiastically posted the strip to Reddit—"the last thing I want happening," Downer says, "but I still find it pretty amusing." For liberals, reading Decent Don is an exercise in momentarily letting go of an exhausting hatred. On the Decent Don Facebook page, readers interact with Downer in character, writing, "Namaste, Don," and "Don, may you mind peace and gratitude in your inward journey."
Admittedly, though, rendering this fantasy world has taken its toll on its creator, who never expected this to be a long-term project.
"I am very tired of concentrating so closely on his face," Downer says, "and knowing intimately all the folds in his dead eyes." BEN STONE.
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