Friday, April 03, 2009

Thomas Nast's Barnyard Politics (11/7/06)

It's Election Day! Time to get out there and vote for (or against) the candidate of your choice. Appropriately enough, it's also the birthday of the Republican elephant. That symbol is familiar to most Americans, but where in the world did it come from? The answer, as with so many iconic American images, is Thomas Nast. Nast was a political cartoonist in the late 19th century who had an influence that is almost unimaginable today. Almost single-handedly, he brought down New York City's corrupt Tammany Hall and its leader, William "Boss" Tweed. As notable as that feat was, though, it's Nast's graphic images that still have currency today. The Democratic Donkey? Nast. Uncle Sam? Nast. Santa Claus? Guess who? So whether you stampede into your polling place or kick over the booth today, give a nod to Nast. And whatever you do, vote. (And if you live in Chicago, vote early and often.)

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