EACH YEAR, on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, artists mark the day of remembrance by turning to familiar symbols of sorrow and strength. The tearful Statue of Liberty, the glowering American eagle and the resolute Uncle Sam are regular players in this editorial parade.
Tuesday, however, Roll Call’s R.J. Matson invoked 9/11 symbology to make a striking statement about the type of attack he believes imperils American democracy ahead of the midterm elections.
For his cartoon, Matson draws upon the horrifying iconic image of hijacked planes flying into New York’s World Trade Center — only now, the twin towers have become ballot boxes, and the jets represent Russia.
The message is that Russian leader Vladimir Putin will attempt to alter U.S. voting in November. And the implication, it can be read, is that Russia also interfered with U.S. voting in the 2016 presidential election.
In a sea of patriotic metaphors Tuesday, Matson’s cartoon stands out as one of the most politically pointed. And naturally, the artwork sparked some readers to question the appropriateness of invoking the twin towers image — on the 9/11 anniversary, no less — for what they view as a partisan take.
Ryan Saavedra of the Daily Wire tweeted that the cartoon “makes light” of the tragedy.
And David Freddoso of the Washington Examiner tweeted: “There are bad cartoons, and then there’s this.”
One anti-President Trump respondent, on the other hand, agreed with Matson by tweeting: “Russia’s attack on our election IS our new 9/11.”