Of all the components of a typical newspaper's Opinion section, none has the consistent ability to rile up readers like a political cartoon.

That’s because cartoons condense debates and controversies down to their most basic elements and portray them in stereotypical caricature — precisely to inspire reaction. If one agrees with the premise, they can be hilarious. If one disagrees, they can seem downright offensive.

But political cartoons play an important role in U.S. politics and journalism, and they always have, since even before the time of Benjamin Franklin. Their ability to mock those who — arguably, perhaps — deserve mocking speaks to the essence of a free society.

Dictators are not mocked. One-party governments are not satirized. Corrupt, despot-supported institutions are not parodied. At least not more than once.

So, the next time some commie libtard artist portrays gun owners as killers, or some morally bankrupt neo-con wingnut paints a healthy program of gentle social engineering as a socialist giveaway, go ahead and shout at your newspaper. And then thank God you live in the United States of America.

With that, we give you a sampling of some of the best (and most infuriating) political cartoons of 2017.