Cartoonist: “As a political cartoonist, I try to get people to think”
One of things that used to flummox me about the left is their sophomoric insistence on “all or nothing.” Children love the false dichotomy: either you buy me this iPhone, prom dress, car, or you hate me and wish I’d never been born. For Democrats and the left, this puerile insistence that there are only two answers (theirs and the wrong, wildly-extreme answer) manifests as, for example, you’re either against President Trump or you’re a white supremacist/Nazi/etc.
This all-or-nothing fallacy is at the root of the outrage concerning a Politico cartoon about Texans and Hurricane Harvey.
The left appears to believe that we need an immense sprawling federal government that manages every aspect of every citizen’s life; the only alternative, they appear to believe, is no government at all. This cartoon captures this narrow-mindedness.
The first problem with the cartoon is its crassness. People are still being saved, and it’s making fun of those same people.
The second problem is the stereotypes. It’s almost a caricature of what you’d expect a liberal cartoonist to draw in response to conservative Texans relying upon the government in their time of crisis. The Confederate flag T-shirt. The Gadsden Flag. The reference to being saved by God (which seems extremely dismissive of Christianity). The Texas secession banner. It’s all kind of … predictable?
The third problem is that, while this tragedy struck Texas, a red state, the most acute devastation in a populous area is in Houston. Harris County went for Hillary Clinton by double-digits, and neighboring Fort Bend County was blue as well. The population of both combined is more than 5 million — about one-fifth of the entire state of Texas.
But perhaps more than anything, the cartoon is a needlessly vast oversimplification of a very complex issue at a very sensitive time. There seems to be an attitude among some on the political left in America that people who believe in smaller government and lower taxes believe everything should be privatized and that the government shouldn’t be counted on to do anything. There is an attitude that if you don’t believe government should play a major role in something or increasing funding for something, you don’t believe in that thing.
The very epitome of political bigotry aimed directly at people in peril.
Way to go, geniuses.https://t.co/TZ91O817mM
— D.W.Robinson – Vendetta Shakespeare of TWlTTER (@_DWRobinson) August 30, 2017
Texans, the cartoon also suggests, are so busy clinging to their religion (the God who sends angels) that they ignorantly reject the greater power of the federal government. Those dumb rubes think God will save them, when we all know that only the federal government has that power.
Politico is being criticized for publishing a tone-deaf cartoon mocking the religious faith and political views of Houston residents in the aftermath of the flooding. The cartoon, drawn by artist Matt Wuerker, depicts a family sitting on the top of a house amid rising floodwaters on the verge of being rescued by a helicopter. One of the people calls the helicopter an “angel, sent by God,” to which the rescuer then sneers that he’s in the Coast Guard and sent by the government.
As of this writing, the cartoon is still up at Politico, and the cartoonist tweeted the following response to the backlash:
Respectfully— it's making fun of the Secessionist movement. Not at all aimed at all Texans. https://t.co/aI4RxRNjFm
— Matt Wuerker (@wuerker) August 30, 2017
Wuerker also issued a statement.
The cartoonist, for his part, defended himself Wednesday, claiming he meant no offense to the people of Texas, hundreds of whom are still displaced and living without basic utilities.
“As a political cartoonist, I try to get people to think – to consider the ironies and subtleties of the world we live in. This cartoon went with an extreme example of anti-government types – Texas Secessionists – benefitting [sic] from the heroism of federal government rescuers,” he told the Washington Examiner.
“It of course was not aimed at Texans in general, any more than a cartoon about extremists marching in Charlottesville could be construed as a poke at all Virginians,” he added. “My heart is with all the victims of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction and those risking their lives to save others.”
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.