The political cartoon by Rick McKee of The Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle shows a lack of historical perspective (June 13, Page A6).

This cartoon, which was published on Page A6 of the Press Herald on June 13, “shows a lack of historical perspective,” says a reader. Rick McKee/The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle

The public outcry over the New York Times cartoon that prompted the International New York Times (not the U.S. editions) to cease publishing political cartoons is based on an understanding of how authoritarian regimes used them as a vehicle to separate certain peoples within their populations and allow them to become targets for hostility, discrimination and worse.

Indeed, cartoons from the Nazi era are reappearing in the European press and giving rise to expressions of anti-Semitism. This loosening of responsible standards is a harking back to a time when newspapers published vitriolic depictions of minorities: religious, political, physical (including invalids), racial and anyone viewed as “the other” by populists and nationalists.

Political cartoons are a powerful force that should be wielded judiciously, with the full knowledge of their impact on public opinion.

Elaine Kahaner

Cape Elizabeth

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