READERS - Today's cartoon represents a little change of pace. It was supposed to run a week ago, before events in Tucson took over the news cycle. It was a simple piece about "symbolism" - but how could we have predicted how much symbolism would come into play for the week?
The mainstream media tried (and failed) to make Jared Loughner the symbol of the Tea Party...but he instead became the symbol of the partisan press.
And a beautiful, nine-year-old girl who tragically and senselessly lost her life became the symbol of a nation which has lived under a thick and suffocating cloud of dread since 9/11.
Symbols matter...but only if they represent something real. As do symbolic votes if they represent the will of the people.
In his (extremely) weakly address, Barack Obama called for an end to "symbolic battles" in Congress. Like, oh, just taking a wild guess here...next week's House vote to repeal Obamacare.
Of course, the only reason that such a repeal bill is "symbolic" is because Mr. Obama has already said that he'll veto it, whether the American people want it or not.
But to be fair, the alleged president has been fairly consistent about disliking symbolism. While on the campaign trail, candidate Obama famously rejected American flag pins, saying "I won't wear that pin on my chest" because it was a "substitute for true patriotism." He has also rejected the symbolism of attending important state funerals (preferring to golf), visiting allies, or allowing the Whitehouse to become cluttered with meaningless symbols like the bust of Winston Churchill which represented the close relationship our nation used to have with England.
Still, Mr. Obama occasionally supports really, really important symbolism.
Like having his wife turn a portion of the Whitehouse grounds into a yam farm to remind all Americans that we should be thinking less about jobs... and more about becoming sharecroppers.