Page for November 01, 2003:
Commentary for September 15, 2018:
Brace yourselves, everyone! Winter is coming!
Before I get into a long discussion of the politics of Eon's World, I'd just like to point out the change of the seasons. In the previous winter, there was only snow for a very short period around Christmas and New Year. Then it was back to regular backgrounds. But in November, 2003, I just couldn't wait to bring back the snow, and I brought it back early. Snow starting to appear from November and lasting through until around March became a bit of an Eon's World tradition. Certainly, I always made an effort to show the changing of the seasons -- at least between winter and the rest of the year. But, honestly, how long the snow lasted each winter depended on how soon I got bored of it. In the original version of the comic, this unusually long winter was never explained, but it's something I've endeavoured to fix this time.
And now, politics.
I know some leftist progressive types aren't fans of those who identify as liberals. I get it. "Liberal" can refer to a number of different ideologies, including right-wing libertarianism and radical centrist to centre-right "classical liberalism" -- both of which ultimately are only of benefit to conservatives and the far-right (due to the fish hook theory). However, I'd like to point out that "liberal" can also refer to a generally left-wing progressive ideology; coloquially, this is usually what people mean when they say "liberal", at least in my experience of the discourse. When you say "liberal" to most people, they're not going to assume you're talking about a radical centrist, who has a lot of harsh criticism for feminists, Black Lives Matter, and social justice warriors, while being incredibly soft on conservatives and the far-right. They're going to assume you mean a left-winger who is generally sympathetic to feminism, Black Lives Matter, and social justice warriors, if they're not all three of those themselves. Indeed, this is where many self-described liberals stand.
And that is what the Liberal Party is in Eon's World -- a generally left-wing, progressive party, that stands up for social justice causes. (Yes, I actually have a point to make about the comic you just read.) Now, as with all parties, there are different factions within the Liberal Party, including a wing that is more centrist to right-of-centre; but, as Sally describes, the party's left has regained control. This kind of push-and-pull between internal factions is not unusual in political parties.
Consider the Labour Party in the UK. While founded as a socialist party, it has a left/right divide. At the time I originally wrote this page, it was dominated by the Blairite, "New Labour" school of thought, which subscribed to third way economics. Third wayism is, basically, token leftism in the form of increased welfare spending (compared to conservatism), along with Thatcherite deregulation and privatisation of public assets. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown presided over Labour's shift to the right, where the party basically conceded the economic argument to the Conservatives. Since Labour lost control of Parliament in 2010, Blairism has steadily fallen out of favour. Ed Milliband made a token effort at returning to old Labour leftism, but that didn't really take off until after Jeremy Corbyn became party leader after the 2015 election. Since then, Labour has become overtly socialist and not afraid to say so. The party's left is dominant once again, but the right is still there and still hoping to regain control.
The situation with the fictional Liberal Party of the United Federation in Eon's World is similar. There has been a tug-of-war between the party left and the party right for control and, currently, the left has won, which is actually typical for the party. A recent period of dominance by the party's centre-right, in fact, cost the Liberals any chance of winning the 2502 election. You might recall a certain grey fox describing them as having been "in crisis" at the time. (Indeed, as Cookirini intimated, the Social Democrats' ideological leanings have also shifted towards the centre under recent leadership.) But the Liberal Party is back, baby! And this time, they've got a candidate who means business!
Jeez, that's a long bit of commentary. Unfortunately, I do have one last issue to address. Isn't it a bit presumptuous of me to ascribe a political ideology to an actual Sonic character like Sally...?
Well, if I were writing for an official publication (where you want the widest possible audience appeal, so you try to be as hands-off with the politics as you can), maybe. But I'm not. This is fanfic. This is a version of Sally written specially for this world -- for my world (yes, I know it's called Eon's world, but he's just keeping it warm for me). However, entertaining the notion that I need to rationalise the politics I've depicted Sally Acorn having in the first place, I would say that they make perfect sense. Sally was a freedom fighter. She fought against the creation of an oppressive, authoritarian regime. So of course, she cares about freedom, justice, and standing up for the little guy. Of course she's going to be for social justice, and against oppressive laws and creeping authoritarianism. It's who she is, and I would argue that it's also who she is in all three official versions of the character, even if none of those writers could have safely got away with putting a real-world political label on her. (That said, I think Ken Penders came closest with a story that was basically Sally and Bunnie being feminists, subverting Robotnik's gendered expectations and ultimately using his sexism against him.)
Also, let's not kid ourselves. Sonic has always been political. There's always been an environmentalist and anti-authoritarian message in the games, the cartoons, and the comics. In both the Archie Sonic comics and Fleetway's Sonic the Comic, Doctor Robotnik was an evil dictator who took over the world and forced people to live under his oppressive regime. Sonic and his friends were freedom fighters working to overthrow him and restore peace and freedom to the world. And the Archie book got even more political than that, by calling into question the old system of monarchy, prior to Robotnik's coup and allowing it to change and evolve to become more democratic. Tails's father staged a revolution against the crown, for pity's sake. How is that not political? But I digress. Given her lifetime of experiences, for Sally to be anything other than a left-wing liberal progressive would be absurd.
Sorry that this commentary went on so long. If you made it this far, thank you.
Original Character Credits
Paws - character by Robyn Silver, sprites by Bethany Turner
Silky Fox - character & sprites by Bethany Turner
Eon Squirrel - character & sprites by Bethany Turner
Cookirini - character by Jessica Davis, sprites by Bethany Turner
CJ Kitmyth - character by Chris Richardson, sprites by T-M-E & Bethany Turner
Brenda Winters - character & sprites by Bethany Turner
Lienne-Ka - character by Lianne-Ka, sprites by Bethany Turner
Custom Sprite Credits
Sally Acorn - sprites by Bethany Turner
Mighty the Armadillo - sprites by Zong
Espio the Chameleon - sprites by Bendilin
Luigi - sprites by Tanman & Xander
Vector the Crocodile - sprites by DBurraki
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