Editorial cartoonist Chris Britt has responded to criticism to one of his cartoons that ran in the Bucks County Courier Times. The cartoon depicted children asking Santa Claus to protect them from police. The cartoon drew ire from two police organizations and spurred a campaign to list and publicize businesses that advertise in the newspaper.
LET ME BEGIN with a statement of fact. Editorial cartoons are not meant to be fair and they cannot hurt you. That said, they can, in the words of one of my ink-stained brethren, punctuate the conversation with satire, mockery and gross exaggeration, ridiculing and lampooning everything from pompous politicking to holier-than-thou hypocrisy. Nobody said it was pretty, but it is oh, so American. Cartoons are supposed to provoke thought, encourage speech and usher in change. And change cannot come soon enough. Our country is reeling from a series of deaths of young black men at the hands of the police. We have all seen the headlines, read the stories and watched countless families grieve, night after night, in front of the television cameras.
So, to the hotheaded and venomous rant by Mr. McNesby against my cartoon, myself and the media as a whole, I say that his misguided anger and inelegant choice of words only reinforce what many have come to believe – that too many law-enforcement officers view the rest of us with utter disdain. I hope Santa brings Mr. McNesby a stocking full of joy, understanding and humility. What is that oath all police officers take? Oh yes – to protect and serve.