The 2008 elections are finally getting down to the wire, and delegates from all 50 states – or 57, if you’re voting for Obama! – are all ready to head to their respective conventions.
Politics is something we hold dear in America. Whether we’re hoping for a red state or a blue state, or cherishing fondness for elephants or donkeys, politics has become one of out favorite spectator sports. We even have T-shirts and bumper stickers bearing slogans for our hopefuls.
And maybe that’s where it should end. I hate to say this, but you probably already know it: not that many people look great in T-shirts. They’re just not universally flattering, and they also make you look as if you’re getting ready for a 5K run or an afternoon of washing the car. Politics is supposed to be a classy business – so maybe you should try showing your colors in a way that shows partisanship but is universally embraced as an elegant statement.
There is nothing that inspires confidence like a well-dressed person. For a man hoping to run our country – or have influence on the choices of others who will vote for the person who is going to run this country – a suit is the one, definitive choice of attire that speaks to its wearer’s self-assurance and competence. A well-cut shirt, perfectly shined shoes, and a classic tie are de rigueur with a good suit, as are cufflinks.
Cufflinks are a tiny but elegant touch to your attire. They not only serve a function – holding the cuffs of your shirt closed – but they also give you an opportunity to impart a little originality to your ensemble. They can range from the simplest engraved discs to sports logos and professional images such as T-squares for architects and computer chips for tech types.
And – just in time for the Democratic national Convention in Denver and the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis – you can now buy cufflinks that promote the party of your choice!
The Republican Party, with its traditional nickname “Grand Old Party,” boasts as its mascot the mighty elephant. The elephant became associated with the Republicans after a November 7, 1874 cartoon – illustrated in Harper’s Weekly by the famous cartoonist, Thomas Nast – depicted an elephant demolishing the flimsy “planks” of the Democratic Party. Since that time, the GOP has used the elephant to symbolize strength and unity.
The Republican Party unofficially adopted red as its color in 2000, following the 2000 election. During the time that ballots were being counted, all major television broadcast networks used the color to represent states won by Republicans, with states swept by the Democrats denoted by the color blue.
If wearing elephants and the GOP moniker doesn’t fit your political taste, try a pair of cufflinks emblazoned with the trademark donkey of the Democratic Party. The donkey has been the emblem of the Democrats for 180 years – ever since Andrew Jackson ran for president!
At that time, Jackson’s opponents tried to label him a “jackass” for his populist views. Cunning Jackson, however, turned the tide on that smear tactic by adopting the jackass as his own symbol. He included it on all of his campaign materials. During his presidency, Jackson was characterized as a donkey by the press because of his stubbornness.
The symbolism seeped into the American consciousness, and in 1837, the donkey first appeared in a cartoon. The cartoonist was making fun of the long-retired Jackson who still fancied himself the head of the Democratic Party and tried constantly to bend it to his will. Although the cartoonist was not specifically referring to the party when he drew the jackass – he was actually depicting Jackson – the nation misunderstood, and equated the creature with the party.
Be sure that when you go to the polls this year, you leave no hanging chads – or sleeves! Get yourself a pair of patriotic, partisan cufflinks, and show the world how you’d like to see the country run!