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Columbia Missourian

Tea bags and dirt bags: Giving voice to the tea party protests

By Jake Sherlock
May 15, 2009 | 9:38 a.m. CDT

A Stuart Carlson cartoon that ran in the Missourian’s April 24 print edition spurred one anonymous reader to ask a really good question about the opinion page.

“Does the editorial cartoon in Friday, April 24th's Columbia Missourian represent the high standards of journalism held by the paper or the opinion of the cartoonist?” our anonymous friend asks. “Am I a dirt bag because I don't agree with the policies of the current administration? I wonder if it will be easier to accept the incarceration and extermination of a few ‘dirt bags’?”

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The cartoon in question centered around the tea parties that sprung up last month in protest of too much federal spending.

Choosing to run the cartoon was not an endorsement on the part of the Missourian. I chose the cartoon because I saw it as a reflection of the way some members of the media turned their noses down at the protesters. Susan Roesgen’s now infamous report on CNN is probably the best example – clearly exasperated with the tea party goers and their reasons for protesting on Tax Day, she takes a swipe at Fox News before bailing off the air.

Carlson, a syndicated cartoonist for The Washington Post, takes the same approach. The cartoon shows these “dirt bags” are just shills of the alleged tea party organizers, the Republican Party.

Our anonymous friend understandably takes exception to this. I’m willing to bet there are others who feel the same way. If you’re in that boat, do something about it. You have the right to have your voice heard – exercise it.  

Shoot us an e-mail at letters@ColumbiaMissourian.com with your thoughts or leave a comment below.  

***

Speaking of cartoons, please welcome Leonard Griswell to the opinion section. The cartoon you see above is the first of what I’m hoping will be many published here.

Leonard is a freelance graphic designer who was looking for a creative outlet. I’m ecstatic to have him on board.

***

It’s graduation weekend, which means the Missourian will be saying goodbye to a bevy of talented seniors and graduate students who are off to make their mark on the world.

Graduation is a bittersweet day. The sweet comes from the joy and excitement on the faces of those we’ve worked with over the years, plus we get to meet all the parents, siblings and extended family.

The bitter boils down to empty nest syndrome. After watching so many of these students work their tails off for the love of a profession that, right now, stands on shaky ground, it’s a little hard to let them go.

Best of luck to the class of ’09.  We’ll miss you.

Jake Sherlock is the Missourian’s opinion editor. He loves to hear from readers and welcomes your e-mails at SherlockJ@missouri.edu, your phone calls at 882-9951 and your tweets @jakesherlock.