Monday, November 29, 2021

Cartoon projects wrong message

This past weekend I attended a dinner hosted by the MSU Air Force ROTC.

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, spoke to us about the 24 Americans who were being detained by the Chinese government. He reminded us of the sacrifices American men and women make in the name of serving their country.

This hit home for me, as both my brother and fiancé have been in the Persian Gulf on a Navy Aircraft Carrier since Thanksgiving. Until Saturday night, I had been feeling slightly sorry for myself that I have to be away from two of the people I love the most in my life for six months.

This changed for me after hearing Rogers speak. I was reminded they are gone so I can enjoy the freedom I take for granted every day.

Maybe this is why I found myself very disturbed by Justin Bilicki’s cartoon I found in The State News on Monday. It showed a house - labeled as China - with a broken window and a caricature of President Bush saying, “I’m not apologizing for the window. Just give me the ball back before I burn down your house.”

All day I thought about this, trying to rationalize how a fellow American could possibly create this cartoon and how a university paper in the United States could print it.

Perhaps The State News and the creator don’t understand 24 Americans are currently being held hostage by China - and they were flying in international air space.

Perhaps they don’t understand China is demanding the United States apologize to it, when the only reason the American plane crashed was because it was hit by a Chinese plane.

Perhaps they don’t understand China has absolutely no reason to hold American military personnel hostage under these conditions.

All day I have asked myself, “How could a fellow American write this cartoon?” Then it came to me: They can write it because as an American, they have a right to. Every right they have as an American is being defended by people like my brother and fiancé, and the 24 Americans in China, away from their families.

It still disturbs me there are Americans, such as those who may agree with Monday’s Bilicki cartoon, who are ungrateful for the sacrifices made every day for them in the name of protecting their rights and freedoms.

But I realized they can freely express their ignorance and ungratefulness in a newspaper without government-enforced editing because our military is doing its job - and those 24 Americans were not in China without purpose. They were there to protect us whether we support them or not.

Remember this the next time you feel the urge coming on to print something that attacks the United States or its military.

Remember the very thing you are attacking is protecting your right to do so.

Catherine Aikin
political science and
pre-law senior


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