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Donald Trump's election as president of the United States has recently resulted in substantial changes, particularly in the nation's political activity. The imposition of the travel restriction to certain countries into the United States is one of the most significant moves (de Vogue, Diamond and Liptak). The enforcement of the prohibition is depicted in a political cartoon by Patrick Chappatte that appeared on the New York Times website on June 27, 2017. At the judge's bench is a man with the same looks as President Trump. The judge himself with a gavel is visible behind him. A travel bag is slung over the shoulder of a different man who is standing in front of the magistrate's bench. On the one hand, the judge is asking the defendant if he has a bona fide relationship in the U.S. On the contrary, Trump asks if the immigrant is a Christian. As such, an in-depth outlook on this picture reveals that the cartoonist employs the use of symbolism, analogy, exaggeration, and irony to show the criteria in which President Trump utilizes to implement the travel ban.
The use of symbolism is evident through the utilization of a yellow line, a desk and the United States flag. These three elements symbolize the border as well as the entry point from other countries into the U.S. the cartoonist uses these three symbols to bring out the actual events that take place when immigrants reach the immigration office. Additionally, the presence of the judge symbolizes the role of the Supreme Court in deciding the immigration issue. Also, the colour of the immigrant is a shade darker than that of the judge and Trump indicating that he is probably an African or an Arab and not white.
Concerning analogy, the political cartoon shows a judge and the image of President Trump as the actual individuals responsible for the immigration exercise. While in the reals sense these people are not involved in verification and stamping of immigration passports, the artist utilizes this analogy to show that whatever the president and the supreme court decides is final. Furthermore, the position of the high court behind the President is an analogy that the court is either supporting the president’s decision or the President’s domination in making the final decision while the court assumes a ceremonial position.
In this political cartoon, an exaggeration is also a tool used to bring out the message. Notably, the immigrant is pictured as having a long nose, a characteristic that is stereotypically attributed to Arabs. The travel ban affected most Arab and Muslim countries, and this exaggeration on the immigrant’s physical features successfully brings out the population most impacted by the ban (de Vogue, Diamond and Liptak).
One of the techniques that further illustrate the meaning of this political cartoon is irony. In a country founded on a Christian background, the President seems to be discriminatory against non-Christians. Through the textual aspects that the characters speak, the artist indicates that while the Court attempts to utilize the standard protocol for immigration, the President insists that if the individual is not a Christian, then the entry is not granted. It is quite ironical therefore for a country based on Christian principles to limit movement of other people based on their religious beliefs.
Political cartoons uniquely illustrate messages. In this case, symbolism, Patrick Chappatte employs symbolism, exaggeration, analogy, and irony to explicitly illustrate the ongoing issue concerning the travel ban which affects most Muslim nations. Through these techniques, he shows that both the Supreme Court and the president are the key players in the implementation of the travel ban. In the depiction, the artist also suggests that the president may be overstepping boundaries by being on the forefront of such political matters rather than letting the Supreme Court take the lead.
Chappatte, Patrick. "On the Travel Ban." The New York Times, 27 June 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/27/opinion/on-the-travel-ban.html?rref=collection%2Fbyline%2Fpatrick-chappatte. Accessed 18 August 2017.
de Vogue, Ariane, Jeremy Diamond and Kevin Liptak. "US President Donald Trump signs new travel ban, exempts Iraq." CNN , 7 March 2017, http://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/06/politics/trump-travel-ban-iraq/index.html. Accessed 18 August 2017.
UNC School of Education. "Analyzing political cartoons." North Carolina Digital History, 2017, http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/nchist-eg/6460. Accessed 18 August 2917.
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