I was dismayed by the “Retorts Illustrated” cartoon by Bryan Stalder in the 9/12 edition of Northeast News.
Mr. Stalder presents “our side” and “their side” as differently sized hamburgers labeled Tax Cuts, Obamacare Rollbacks, Trade Deals (Ours) and Obstruction of Justice, Fake News, and Russian Collusion (Theirs). Mr. Stalder wryly represents the political differences between Republicans and Democrats through a callback to 1980’s Wendy’s commercials. The message is that Republicans are substantive, like a gigantic hamburger, and Democrats are not.
But Mr. Stalder leaves out the biggest beef patties of all. As our friends and neighbors in the Historic Northeast know, Trump’s Republican party has implemented policies and advanced attitudes that directly impact Northeast residents. We are a neighborhood with a large and diverse population of immigrants, refugees, asylum-seekers, Muslims, and people of color. Many of our neighbors fit all these categories! And many of our neighbors have been directly targeted by policies that prohibit people from majority-Muslim countries from entering the US, punish asylum seekers with family separation and detention, drastically restrict legal immigration from non-white countries, and enable the open celebration of white supremacy and neo-Nazism. For many in the Northeast, it’s not a question of “Which hamburger will you choose, LOL?” but “Will you ever see your family again?” or “Is it safe for you to be in public in your hijab?” or “Can you expect fair treatment from law enforcement, or is it better not to report this crime?”
I am confused as to why a paper that serves the most religiously, ethnically, and culturally diverse neighborhood in Kansas City would run a cartoon that brushes aside the biggest political issues facing its readers. Is it Mr. Stalder’s opinion and the opinion of the editorial staff of the Northeast News that those issues do not matter?
I understand this issue of the paper was burger themed, but if Mr. Stalder can’t manage to draw a hamburger without insulting his neighbors, maybe he shouldn’t be cartooning.