5 Ways Negan From 'The Walking Dead' Is Just Like Uncle Sam

Characters on TV often mirror political and cultural issues, and the undertones are easy to spot. That couldn't be more evident than with the latest villain on The Walking Dead, the charismatic psychopath Negan, played spectacularly by Jeffery Dean Morgan.

The past couple of seasons, it's become increasingly difficult to avoid seeing Negan as Uncle Sam and the federal government. Here are five ways that prove it.

Spoiler Alert: Stop reading now if you don't want the veil lifted.

1| Taxation

Honestly, does anyone feel patriotic or thrilled when April 15th rolls around? Of course not --- nobody does. The more money you make the more Uncle Sam takes, and there isn't any way around it (unless you run a major corporation or have tax shelters set up by a bang-up accountant).

It's no surprise once the calm settles in a dystopian zombie apocalypse world, some dude would seize power of what's left and try to take as much as he can. Negan broke it down for the show's protagonist Rick Grimes in his brilliantly written monologue in last season's finale:

Give me your sh**... or I will kill you. Today was career day. We invested in a lot, so you would know who I am and what I can do. You work for me now. You have sh**, you give it to me. That's your job. Now, I know that is a mighty big, nasty pill to swallow, but swallow it you most certainly will. You ruled the roost. You built something. You thought you were safe. I get it. But the word is out. You are not safe. Not even close. In fact, you are pegged, more pegged if you don't do what I want. And what I want is half your sh**.

No matter how much you hate it, you can't fight city hall, and you sure can't take on Negan by yourself --- that's just the way it is.

2| Theft Is Not Tolerated

In America today, stealing large amounts of money often earns longer prison sentences than violent crimes. While perhaps not as harsh as punishments delivered by the barbed-wire-wrapped baseball bat-wielding bad guy, the feds don't care who you are --- if you owe them money, they will come for you. Just ask Wesley Snipes or Martha Stewart.

Uncle Sam will drop the hammer on you if you take what he thinks is his. Similarly, Negan will drop Lucille on your head if you cross him in any way. In his words:

You don't really think that you were gonna get through this without being punished, now, did you? I don't want to kill you people. Just want to make that clear from the get-go. I want you to work for me. You can't do that if you're dead, now, can you?

3| I Want You!

The iconic stars-and-stripes-clad Uncle Sam recruitment poster has been used over the decades as a patriotic call to duty. A volunteer army has long been a tradition in America and helped us to avoid another draft, something nobody wants to see. When stuff really hits the fan, it'll be something to watch for because that patriotic call can become a frightening threat.

Once Negan had fan favorite Daryl in his custody, he laid out his options for service in no uncertain terms:

I don't think you get it yet. So I'm gonna break it down for you. You get three choices. One. You wind up on the spike, and you work for me as a dead man. Two. You get out of your cell, you work for points, but you're gonna wish you were dead. Or three. You work for me. You get yourself a brand new pair of shoes, and you live like a king! The choices seem pretty obvious. You should know, there is no door number four. This is it. This is the only way.

For as much as Uncle Sam wants us to feel like we have a choice in the matter, he will come calling if things go sideways. Negan likewise wants to make his group, "The Saviors," feel like they are living it up. But the truth is, he owns them.

4| It's All Good If You Follow the Rules

Things are pretty simple in America, keep your head down, pay your taxes, produce for society and the feds will leave you alone. At least that's what they want you to think. The truth is, the average person could be committing at least three felonies a day and not even know it. All it takes is the wrong person noticing to completely upend your life.

The rules are pretty similar for Negan. You produce, you keep your head down, say please and thank you and, for the most part, things will be pretty smooth. Not enjoyable, but not deadly. The only problem is it won't take much to slip up and if the wrong person catches you, you might end up with a hot iron to the face or on the business end of Lucille. According to Negan:

There are rules for a reason. Nothing matters if your dead.

5| Ingenuity and Talent Is Rewarded

Despite all the ways the government has invented to entangle itself in our daily lives, the American Dream lives on. If you work hard, you can get ahead and make a difference --- without fear of Lucille hanging over you.

While Negan owns you and there is no escaping that fact, he too rewards hard work. In one episode, Spencer tries to make an end run around Rick and take power of Alexandria, the settlement where Rick's people live. Despite their differences, Negan respects Rick's work ethic and recognizes Spencer's laziness. He responds accordingly:

You know, I'm thinking, Spencer. I'm thinking how Rick threatened to kill me, how he clearly hates my guts. But he is out there right now, gathering sh** for me to make sure I don't hurt any of the fine people that live here. He is swallowing his hate and getting sh** done. That takes guts. And then there's you. The guy who waited for Rick to be gone so he could sneak over and talk to me to get me to do his dirty work, so he could take Rick's place. So I got to ask, if you wanna take over, why not just kill Rick yourself and just take over?

This encounter leads to Spencer's disembowelment and an example made for the rest of the citizens of Alexandria. In recent episodes, Negan has taken a shine to Eugene, an odd duck often on the outside looking in with Rick's group.

Negan finds out about Eugene's talent for making bullets and rewards him with a new life where he can play all the video games he wants, eat good food and enjoy the company of beautiful women. What Negan has in mind for Eugene's talents hasn't fully been revealed, but you can be sure it will have deadly results.

So maybe Uncle Sam and Negan aren't quite the same... or are they?

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.


It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.