Before he was famous, Dr. Seuss used his cartoon skills to skewer "America First" fascists.

Dr. Seuss: More relevant than ever!

His real name was Theodore Geisel, but his millions of fans will always remember him as Doctor Seuss. Over the course of his career he wrote and illustrated upwards of sixty books, many of which rank among the most beloved children's stories of all time. His work has sold over 600 million copies and has been translated into more than twenty languages. Countless children the world over have learned their ABCs, 1-2-3s, and dubious (but beloved) recipes with the help of his whimsical creations.

But Doctor Seuss has a lot more to teach us than just the alphabet. His often-overlooked early work as a political cartoonist, which he did well before the world was introduced to the Cat in the Hat or Green Eggs and Ham, is especially resonant in today's increasingly volatile political climate.


He first dipped his pen into politics as an Army captain, writing propaganda cartoons (like the hilarious Private SNAFU) and making documentary films. But as nationalist fascism threatened to conquer Europe, America was wrestling with hatred, bigotry, and isolationism at home. To Doctor Seuss, these ideologies were undermining the war effort against the Axis powers. He fought back with the only weapon in his arsenal, wielding his pen as a cartoonist for the left-leaning New York City daily newspaper PM, where he drew more than 400 cartoons lampooning the dictators in Europe as well as intolerant politics at home.



His record wasn't spotless, to be sure. Early in his career he drew racist advertisements, and during the war he repeatedly caricatured Japanese people with tired racist tropes, fanning the flames that would lead to internment. He came to regret his actions later in life according to Ron Lamothe, the filmmaker behind The Political Dr. Seuss, and he wrote his famous book Horton Hears a Who as a parable for the post-war occupation of Japan, dedicating it to a Japanese friend.


There's still a lot of good to be found in his work from the time. Reviewing the cartoons today, the first surprise is how relevant they are, over 70 years after they were created. You can't help but feel a bit of historical deja vu when you see Seuss's satire of the "America First" movement of the time, which advocated for the same intolerant policies made famous more recently by a certain cartoonish bloviator who, when you think about it, wouldn't be out of place as a Seussian villain. The cartoons pull no punches, directly associating the ideology with Nazism.



Even though Doctor Seuss turned from political cartoons to writing children's books after the war came to an end, he never stopped his fight for a kinder, more tolerant society. In his 1961 book The Sneetches and Other Stories, his pen is as sharp as ever, satirizing the stupidity of discrimination based on skin color with a parable about "Sneetches" who think they are superior to others because they have a star on their belly. By the end of the story, the Sneetches learn their lesson:

I'm quite happy to say

That the Sneetches got really quite smart on that day,

The day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches

And no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.

The question is, can we do the same? The Doctor who has taught us so much still has a lesson or two for us to learn. Hopefully we will prove to be as smart as the Sneetches.


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I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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What someone wears, regardless of gender, is a personal choice. Sadly, many folks like Maryann White, mother of four sons, think women's attire — particularly women's leggings are a threat to men.

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