I was quite surprised to see the volume of critical letters concerning the June 18th cartoon.
Let’s back up to the cartoon of June 4th which received not one published letter to the editor in the paper. The June 4th cartoon depicted President Donald Trump kneeling on the neck of the statue of Liberty, pretty much exactly how the police officer killed George Floyd.
There were no comments or discussion except from the editorial by Dave Adsett in the June 11 paper. Mr. Adsett mentions that a “handful” of readers complained but no published letters appeared in the paper. He states, “The cartoon, it appears did its job. People are talking and a conversation is ensuing. Our editor’s choice to run that material was solid and one I support.”
The outrage of the Trudeau cartoon somewhat baffles me. The two cartoons are similar but Trump’s duplicates in detail, the criminal act of a police officer and the one depicting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau does not.
One is about equality, freedom and liberty, the other is about economics. Did Trump kill George Floyd? No. Is he responsible for the safety of the nation. Yes. Do people think he is trying to crush freedom and liberty? Apparently so as the cartoon alludes to.
Is Trudeau responsible for the COVID-19 virus, no. Is he responsible for financial decisions made to combat the economic impact of the virus, yes. Do people think he is trying to hurt the economic recovery with shutdown policies? Apparently so as the cartoon eludes to.
Trump’s cartoon is directly attached to the horrible crime a police officer committed. The knee on the neck, his facial expression and the expression on the statue mimic the violence. The attitude drawn in Trudeau’s cartoon of “taking a knee” is quite different. The reaction to the two cartoons is dramatically different.
Trump’s cartoon – no printed complaints or criticism from readers. Trudeau’s cartoon – 15 angry letters, with 10 of them connecting a reference to George Floyds death as a reason the cartoon is harmful, disgusting, extremely offensive, insensitive to issues, extremely poor taste, lack of respect, appalling, lack of judgement and for cheap political points, to name a few.
I think both cartoons could have been left out in light of the past months events.
One last quote from Mr. Adsett’s editorial. “While we all have perceptions of democracy and what it means to us individually, the ability to speak and have differing views is something this newspaper will support until the end.”
To Mr. Adsett and Mr. Daponte, if you believe you have made a mistake, a simple apology is all that is needed and I thank you for that.