Editorial cartoons are humorous at the other party’s expense

To the editor:

Thomas R. Spangler’s response to my letter has got me thinking. If you have never bought a gun, you have no way of knowing that his suggestion to use the same approach to guns as we do to voter ID makes no sense.

Buying a gun is already a bit more involved than voting. In order to buy a gun you have to hand over your driver’s license and fill out an application form. The seller will take the driver’s license and the signed form to his office to call it in. Only after getting approval from the government can the seller let you buy the gun. Less than 1 percent of purchases get around these checks.

Now about political cartoons. Sure they are humorous, but in the way the old racial and ethnic jokes were funny — that is, at the other party’s expense. The humor is often based on a lie or an extreme exaggeration.

Thursday’s Herald had a Nick Anderson cartoon that depicts a very large armored vehicle pointing four — what look to me like — 16-inch cannons and three 500-pound bombs at a woman grocery shopping with food stamps. Of course, the vehicle and its driver are Republican.

What is the basis of the cartoon? The Republicans will raise food stamp expenditures by 57 percent over the next 10 years while the Democrats propose a 65 percent raise. That difference supposedly makes the Republicans heartless killers in the cartoonist’s eyes.

A cartoon is visual and makes no real argument. A cartoon will get a quick glance and make a very effective statement of ridicule. In my opinion Anderson’s cartoons sometimes cross a point of such absurdity and meanness that I can describe only as dishonesty.

The letter’s remarks about Fox News amount to no more than a typical liberal ad hominem attack, but at least we agree that The Herald is a fine local newspaper. It would be even better, though, if it viewed Anderson’s cartoons with a more critical eye.

—Mike Gramelspacher Jr.

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