A seal composed by the Obama campaign that appeared at a meeting of governors in Chicago has raised some concern by Obama supporters about accusations of arrogance by the Senator’s detractors and political opponents. The seal, which featured a bald eagle on a blue background and the motto “Vero Possumus” (a Latin phrase meaning, roughly, “Yes, We Can”, the campaign’s motto), is strikingly similar to the presidential seal and was meant for one-time usage, according to the Obama camp. It was meant to convey a stateliness to the proceedings.
But many Obama supporters made it clear on the Obama website that they believed the Barack Obama seal showed a possible presumption that could be misconstrued by the Republicans to further press home their contention that Senator Barack Obama is arrogant and elitist. According to Reuters, the campaign decided that they would retire the seal.
According to CNN, there is a little known law that prohibits the use of the presidential seal or a close likeness. Rock groups, “Saturday Night Live”, and others have run afoul of it. Even President George H. W. Bush decided not to use it during a speech — and he was president at the time.
But pundits and radio talk show hosts are more focused on the “arrogance” aspect of the story, adding another non-issue to the ever growing list of non-issues and distractions that have cropped up in this seemingly neverending presidential campaign. No one seems to want to debate the real issues or platform points of the candidates, just relatively inconsequential minutiae like John McCain’s age or his wife’s tax returns, Barack Obama’s wife’s image or his lack of lapel accessories.
Or Barack Obama’s seal.
The bottom line remains that topics such as Barack Obama’s seal should be interesting asides, not topics of heated debates that question psychological motive or intent. But, nonetheless, they are topics of debate and some have influence over how voters will choose their president.
Some will look at Barack Obama’s seal and see a clever manipulation of the presidential seal and think little else about it. But others, such as conservatives, who are more inclined to be more protective of tradition and authority and its symbols, might not see Barack Obama’s seal in quite the same light. People in conservative states like Georgia, where even the Democrats tend to be conservative, might see Barack Obama’s seal as a bit much, something of an undeserved appropriation. Arrogant.
But will something like this have an impact on the electorate? Although there exists the possibility that some might take offense at such symbolic arrogation and alter their vote in November because of it, it is highly doubtful that such a non-issue would have much of an real impact on the race. There is a shallowness involved in the thinking that a mere decoration could affect a person’s vote when there are far more serious issues of import to the average voter upon which to make a decision as to which candidate they will ultimately choose. There is also an undeserved presumption that the average voter can be swayed more by a jingoistic appeal than by platform issues that will directly affect a voter’s life. The average American voter deserves a little more respect than that. They also deserve less exposure to distracting asides like Barack Obama’s seal.
Caren Bohan, “Obama’s presidential seal was for ‘one-time use'”, Blogs.reuters.com