On July 4, 1776, the same day that independence from Great Britain was declared, the Continental Congress also named the first committee (consisted of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams) to design a Great Seal, or national emblem, for the country. Similar to other nations, The United States of America needed an official symbol of sovereignty to formalize and seal international treaties, transactions, etc. It took six years and three committees in order for the Continental Congress to agree on a design. The final design of the Great Seal includes a shield reminiscent of our national flag, an bald eagle (well-known national symbol of the United States), and arrows along with olive branches to represent the power of war and peace together.
I mention the Great Seal because, against my better judgment, I recently visited Obama’s website to peruse some of his policy statements. But before I could even dip my toe in the rhetorical pool, I noticed that the background image on his website is a perverse distortion of the Great Seal of the United States (see below). The image shows Obama’s “rising sun” (er, implication, “rising son”?) over the U.S. shield and flag. The eagle is dropping the olive branches and the arrows, turning its back and flying away. And, one of the arrows is piercing through the American flag. This modified Great Seal is the background image on every page of Obama’s website.
So, why would Obama want this image to represent him? What is he trying to say/convey? If you were running for President, is this the image you would you want on your website? Honestly, I’m not bringing this up just because it is an opportunity to level criticism against Obama. I genuinely wonder about the mentality behind this image, and it bothers me because it seems to be indicative of a disturbing, growing consensus that we need to “remake” the country and that so many people feel they are just “too good to be American.”
That said, it’s worth pointing out that I’m not basing my decision to support McCain exclusively on things like this. My mind was made up long, long ago (before lapel pins, reverend Wright, Bill Ayers, etc.) based on the simple notion that I’d prefer to elect someone who is experienced and similar to me and the majority of Americans in terms of the political spectrum: basically in the middle, but slightly to the right with respect to the military and taxes. Obama is woefully inexperienced and has a voting record on the far-left-wing, even by his own party’s metrics. No, thank you.
Look, America has a history of setting uniquely high standards for itself, and by those standards, sometimes we fall short and need change and a chance to refresh. Bush is a dope, and overall, has performed well below-average as President. One could even make a pretty strong case that some of his actions constitute impeachable offenses under the Constitution. All of that – granted. I agree that we need change. But Obama and his “Great Seal” does not reflect the kind of change we need and is certainly not change I can believe in!
America is not a mean, evil country. We do not need to “remake” America. I’m bothered by the fact that optimism and pride towards our country, and simply being American, seems to get scarcer with each passing day. America is, both in action and principle, a fundamentally good country and a force of good in the world, despite what so many self-righteous liberals would have you believe. The beauty of this country is that it is what we make it. And this election season, we should make it a country that respects the heritage and values represented by important symbols like the Great Seal, and reject those who would desecrate these symbols.
I apologize for the histrionics – didn’t mean to get so caught up in the symbolism of this Obama seal thing. Maybe I just need some time away from Newton and Cambridge…people’s distain for “Brand America” is palpable around here. Anyway, today is Independence Day so I’m going to shake it off, go out, and celebrate my independence from pessimism and my optimism for American now and in the long-run!