William R. Staplin

Cartoon: An exodus from Iowa

William R. Staplin shares another cartoon and explains his artistic choices.

The Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual, Intersex, Queer/Questioning, Asexual (LGTBQIA+) community has lived on the margins of cis-gendered societal acceptance throughout recorded history. Mainstream societies have repressed the community in myriad ways: from self-righteous and pious condemnations and public humiliation to the destruction of careers (whether through hiring and firing discrimination or ”Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”), to brutal assaults in farmyards, playgrounds, and towns squares, all the way to targeted murders and lynching.

When the U.S. Supreme Court cleared a path for marriage equality across the country in June 2015, this brutalized community achieved a small portion of equity. Same-sex couples were able to legally wed and include their life partners for medical insurance, hospital visitation, and estate planning, providing some peace of mind for bereaved loved ones at difficult times.

But equality was in some way a mirage for members of the transgender community.

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Cartoon: SCOTUS-induced Tragic Prelude 2.0

William R. Staplin shares another cartoon and explains his artistic choices.

I was inspired to draw this cartoon because of the egregious decision by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to overturn a 49 year-old precedent, Roe v. Wade. The majority abandoned pregnant Americans’ right to choose safe health care outcomes, including abortion.

I fashioned this cartoon in the same style as a famous work from the American Regionalist Movement (or American Regionalism Movement). The master artist was John Steuart Curry and he painted the politically controversial mural, “Tragic Prelude, (1940).”

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Cartoon: A year after the January 6 insurrection

W.R. Staplin is a former scientist specializing in utilizing molecular biology techniques to investigate RNA plant and animal viruses, research and development of vaccines to protect against infectious viruses; husband to Ruth Ann Sparks Staplin, a longtime SPPG employee and political wonk; father to two independently minded teenagers enrolled in the Des Moines Public Independent School District; cancer and spinal cord disability survivor; and a supporter of women’s reproductive rights, LGTBQ+, and Black and Brown Lives Matter. He is also a full-time greyhound owner and greyhound cafeteria worker.

He was inspired to draw this cartoon to reflect the “paucity of shame, repulsion, and disgust within the submissive Republican Party, especially within Republicans elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate towards a day that truly shall remain in infamy: January 6, 2021.” For Staplin, the reaction to the storming of the U.S. Capitol “shows how dangerously fragile is the democracy our nation relies on.”

Editor’s note: Bleeding Heartland welcomes guest submissions of political cartoons as well as articles or commentaries. Please contact Laura Belin if you are interested in sharing a cartoon with the site’s readers.

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