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American politics is a factor of various reforms to improve the standard of living to its citizens. The health care system is one of the systems that have seen significant changes in the recent past. Obamacare is an elaborate health care reform in the health care system of the United States based on firm policies established to improve the delivery of healthcare services to Americans. The entry of the new regime with different political views intends to make changes to the established healthcare reforms in an attempt to show its devotion to improving the lives of the citizens and challenging the previous regime of bad governance. Obama is a political icon in charge of the outgoing regime that came up with the healthcare reforms in the form of Obamacare while Trump is a figure of the new regime and a critic of the previous regime opposing their reforms as bad governance.
Based on the different political views, this cartoon (Figure 1) illustrates the kind of changes in Obamacare that Trump claims to have enacted. Darmawan and Piliang (2015) hold that use of visual text and imagery provides a comprehensive understanding of political events on an editorial cartoon. The text in the above cartoon describes the reforms that the Trump government planned to make while the imagery provides the actual reforms the government has managed to do. The image depicts Obama as a teacher and Trump as a trainee with the highlighted words that show the actual amendments done on Obamacare. Therefore, this paper will assess the use of a political cartoon to illustrate irony as a powerful technique and demonstrate the promised healthcare amendments by Trump as minor changes.
Image and Text
In this editorial cartoon, the text used gives the audience an idea of the reformations on healthcare reform that the political class intended to do. The text alone does not provide the audience with the right message on the situation of the reforms done. The text message, therefore, is not effective enough to carry the exact message intended to communicate in a cartoon. Sani, Abdullah, Ali, and Abdullah (2014) argue that text message in an editorial cartoon does not provide enough summary of political information to promote understanding of a political situation by the audience. Thus, text message in this editorial cartoon carries a shallow meaning of a political event and in itself does not give the intended message but needs imagery to communicate effectively.
Imagery provides facts on the political situation at hand and is a persuasive tool that gives the picture perception of the political issues communicated. Visual images in an editorial cartoon carry an elaborate summary of the actual message of a cartoon message. The use of imagery alone in an editorial cartoon is effective to pass information but requires text message to highlight contrasting issues and cement the understanding of the conflicting interest (Sani et al., 2014). In the cartoon, the imagery of the two political icons and the highlighted letter change in the image provides a summary of the actual changes made by Trump’s government. Sani et al. (2014) state that the use of visual images on editorial cartoons carries exaggerated features that reveal the superior dominance of ideas or individuals over their opponents. Visual images, therefore, use the dominance of exaggerated features to change the picture perception of political events in the reader’s mind.
The real meaning of the printed words on the editorial cartoon is a factor of the inference of the visual image of the political icons. The visual images act to provide the irony of the major changes communicated in the printed words, and thus, give the printed words a true meaning of the minor changes enacted. A derived conclusion of the minor changes illustrates the letter changes the name of Obamacare to Trumpcare with no apparent change in the policies of the Healthcare Act. The irony of evidential change of letters in the imagery as opposed to the printed text of major changes permits the conclusion of minor amendments.
Analysis of Imagery
The imagery used depicts Obama as a teacher with a symbolic tool of the amendment on his hand and Trump as a trainee target to communicate to the parties of both political divides to accept the superiority of Obamacare over the politicized Trump amendments. The use of visual elements in an editorial cartoon provides the audience with enough information on any political matter (Sani et al., 2014). Thus, the use of imagery in the editorial cartoon is less misleading as opposed to the word text that clearly misinforms readers of the changes in the Healthcare Act.
The strategic argument style used in the editorial cartoon to persuade readers to change their political views is irony. The irony is one of the cartoon techniques with an element to express a message different from the actual by conveying the difference between the current situation of an issue and the expected. According to Darmawan and Piliang (2015), the irony in political cartoons involves the combination of visual text with images to illustrate the opposite meaning of a particular political action to the actual state of affairs. Iron, therefore, provides the audience with a simple symbolic representation of a political situation with text message intended to help the audience interpret and make meaning of the realities of a situation.
The element of irony in the editorial cartoon is good enough to persuade the readers of the fact that the current government has no alternative reforms on the Healthcare Act. The word text implying major changes mislead readers and provoke their interest to try to understand the four described major changes. The ironic imagery of replacing Obamacare showing the change in the highlighted letters evokes the reader to critically think and interpret the real meaning of the editorial cartoon. By relating the word text and the four-letter change in Obamacare, the reader then replaces the earlier understanding of the major changes with a mere change of four letters on Obamacare to Trumpcare. The readers’ new understanding of the changes in the Healthcare Act with the image portraying Obama being in charge persuades the reader to believe that Trump’s government has no moral capacity to challenge Obama’s government policies.
The healthcare system has undergone various changes that include the introduction of Obamacare as a factor of political service to the American people. Editorial cartoons are powerful communication tools used by artists to express their opinions but intended to persuade a reader on the meaning of political events. The text provides the reader with information on current issues of politics. Essentially, text alone does not carry much of the information of an editorial cartoon and can mislead a reader. The use of Imagery provides a clear summary of the information of the editorial cartoon.
Contrasting information on the text and imagery provides a persuasive argument style of irony. The irony is a technique that artists use to persuade readers to change an earlier understanding of a political issue. In the editorial cartoon, the expression of irony contrasts four major changes with the imagery of highlighted changes of four letters indicate that the changes are minor and not major as politicized. Thus, the use of text and imagery in the cartoon illustrates irony as a strategic technique that helps demonstrate promised healthcare reforms by Trump are minor changes.
Darmawan, F., & Piliang, Y. (2015). Assess irony communication of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono through political cartoon. Arts and Design Studies, 28(1), 11-15. Web.
Matson. R. (2017). The best cartoons making fun of Trump’s new health-care plan. Web.
Sani, I., Abdullah, M., Ali, A., & Abdullah, F. (2014). Political cartoons in the first decade of the millennium. Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences & Humanities, 22(1), 73-78. Web.