Denial Cartoon by Jeff Parker (2/29/08)
Re: Cartoon by Jeff Parker (February 29th, 2008, Tampa Tribune Editorial)
I have never seen a more outrageous and offensive political cartoon in any newspaper and especially a Florida Newspaper than the above cartoon by your editor, Mr. Jeff Parker. Webster’s Dictionary defines a "Cartoon" as (a): a drawing intended as satire, caricature, or humor < a political ~ >. Mr. Jeff Parker’s bumper sticker reads:
"HONK, IF YOU LOVE THE IDEA OF DESTROYING THE UNITED STATES BY KILLING OTHERS AMERICANS TO CREATE A SOCIETY BASED ON THE ENSLAVEMENT OF A LARGE PORTION OF THE POPULATION VIEWED AS RACIALLY INFERIOR."
I see no humor or any acceptable political satire in this horrible abomination spewed forth from the troubled mine of Jeff Parker. This cartoon is the epitome definition of the term, "HATE CRIME." There is not a factual statement in your cartoon. You sir, could be responsible for a Rodney King type of backlash against innocent members of a benevolence, historical, ancestry preservation society representing over thirty thousand (30,000) active members and descendents estimated to be in excess of twenty million (20,000,000) people comprised of all religions, national origins, and races which includes in addition to southern Whites, many Blacks and Native Americans. What were you thinking? You and your newspaper, Tampa Tribute, owe an immediate apology and retraction to the members of the United Daughter of the Confederacy (UDC) and Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), a federally charted and certified 501(C) 3, non-profit organization and to all of the estimated 20,000,000 present day Confederate descendents. Your inaccurate libelous article could trigger a legislative withdrawal or non passage of the current heritage bill in Tallahassee. As a journalist you are not suppose to create news; you are suppose to report news. You have done irreparable damage to the good name of the SCV. You are guilty of libelous journalism and misconduct for the Hate Crime. Why?
Hate Crimes can and do intimidate and disrupt entire communities and vitiate the civility that is essential to healthy democratic processes. In a democratic society, citizens cannot be required to approve of the beliefs and practices of others, but must never commit criminal acts on account of them. Current law does not adequately recognize the harm to public order and individual safety that hate crimes cause. Therefore, our laws must be strengthened to provide clear recognition of the gravity of hate crimes and the compelling importance of preventing their recurrence. Don’t be at all surprised, if you are contacted by the ACLU and other civil rights organizations as well as federal authorities, who may choose to weigh in of this serious breach of responsible journalism. Shame on you! Every school child knows that you don’t shout, "Fire" in a crowed theater; unless there is a fire. You wouldn’t joke about a bomb when on an airplane and you don’t joke about racially sensitive matters, especially when everything you wrote and knowingly conveyed was and is a lie! Shame on you! You cannot hide behind, "freedom of speech" on this matter.
The Louisiana Jena Six Incident is a perfect example of possible mob reaction to your Hate Crime Cartoon. If a noose found hanging in a tree triggered the unrest, problems, arrests, marches and vitiate to the civility; what do think your written lies concerning the mission and history of the SCV might trigger? The pen is mightier than the sword and either you are attempting to use it in that regard or you have no clue how really dangerous you are! If, Don Imus lost his multi million dollar radio talk show over a racially insensitive remark, what should be your fate?
If you are clueless, but suddenly you have a change of heart with a new found insight for the SCV, you should immediately print a retraction of your cartoon and show the same cartoon minus your bumper sticker and replace it with one that reads "HERITAGE not HATE." additionally, replace the "DENIAL" on the newly issued Confederate Heritage license plate with the word "HONOR." Thank You! Sir.
As you so capably illustrated in your Hate Crime Cartoon of your total ignorance of the SCV and Confederate Heritage, you should know that the monies received from the sale of the tag will go in part to educate the public on the true history of the civil war. As you know, Florida has a large population of transplants that like you need to be informed and educated, we look forward to the challenge. In closing, always remember, "It is better to be thought of as a fool, than to speak up and remove all doubts." I trust that your resume is up to date!
The truth will set you free! Deo Vindice!