It appears the Obama campaign has adopted a version of the Presidential Seal as a sort of logo to sit on the podium when he speaks at events, and it looks something like this:

There are several objections to this, not the least of which is that it appears to be illegal. But even more than that technical objection, there’s the issue of what it means that he has this seal. It implies a desire to appear to be the president before he’s been through the appropriate process. It suggests an unseriousness, since the Latin motto means, roughly translated, “yes we can”. But above all it’s a betrayal of one of the fundamental principles of American constitutional government – that the nation and its people are sovereign, and not the President. In other countries, including my own home country of the United Kingdom, people swear allegiance to the head of state – a King, Queen or President. But in the United States people swear allegiance to the Flag and the “republic for which it stands”.

Yes, there is a great seal that belongs to the President, but it belongs to the office, and is unchanging regardless of who holds that office. It’s a symbol of permanence and a reminder that the office and not the individual is the one to be reverenced. Obama’s very personal knock-off seems to betray several of those principles, putting his “O” at the center, his own personal (and meaningless) motto where E Pluribus Unum (again, those sovereign people) should normally sit. Even the preservation of the arrows in one of the eagle’s claws is oddly incongruous with Obama’s pacifist positions on foreign policy.

The whole thing is oddly symbolic of the Obama campaign – lack of respect for the United States, the cult of personality, meaningless slogans and conflicting messages. 

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