Editor’s Note: We wish to point out that we observe the traditional separation between the reporting of news and the expression of opinions. The executive editor oversees all matters related to covering news events and writing accounts of those events; unbiased coverage is scrupulously observed. The opinion editor, on the other hand, is charged with overseeing opinions expressed in our publication. Because we are a local publication, editorials and other commentaries are limited to matters impacting Sarasota County. However, beginning in early 2017, the opinion editor elected to begin running editorial cartoons by award-winning cartoonist Clay Jones. Many of Jones’ cartoons focus negatively on Donald Trump, which was largely responsible for his selection.
Frankly, we cannot think of another political personage more deserving of ridicule (or “trashing,” if you will) than Donald Trump. In his eight years in the national political spotlight, he has brought disrepute on the United States of America, diminishing its standing amongst other democracies in the world. His disparagement of the United Nations and our NATO alliance are particularly shameful. His embrace of Russia, our mortal enemy for more than a century, and other nations supporting terrorism against us and our allies, is even more reprehensible. He has disparaged our military, especially our commanding generals, and mocked veterans who were critically wounded or killed in service to our nation. He has failed to condemn white supremacists who commit violent acts of terrorism, claiming that they are as good as loyal, law-abiding citizens across this land. And he has elevated mindless political pugnacity to an art form, using social media platforms as a bully pulpit from which to threaten, revile and condemn anyone who disagrees with him or otherwise earns his disfavor.
But more than that, Trump has established himself as perhaps the most corrupt President in the nation’s history (and he had some pretty stiff competition from a few previous officeholders). Aside from his boasting of sexually assaulting women, his tryst with a porn actress (whom he illegally bribed to keep silent) whilst his wife was with child, and his conviction for civil liability in the sexual assault of writer Jean Carroll, he has breached his oath of office through inciting insurrection. The 91 criminal counts he faces in state and federal courts would, upon conviction, send him to prison for life.
That said, we understand how many cling to his promises to “make America great.” Like many con men before him, he seduces through lies and trickery. He speaks to his believers of a mythical time of ease, wrapping himself in a mantle of patriotism and old-fashioned values. His listeners actually hold those values dear, which perhaps explains why they believe he must feel the same way. But a man who mocks the noble fallen in our wars is neither patriotic nor virtuous. He is instead the Deceiver who beguiles others into abandoning their very faith. He adjures others to follow him to their doom.
We appreciate that some might find Jones’ cartoons offensive, but it is Trump himself who is an offense against this nation and its citizens, especially those who have trusted him with their support. We fervently hope they will be spared his machinations in the near future, and this country can once again be united. It is only when united that America has ever been truly great.
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