A couple of weeks ago we ran a column suggesting that organizations other than sports teams should have mascots. For instance, Duke Power's now-retired mascot Reddy Kilowatt would be replaced by Smudgy the Soot Particle.
We heard from a number of readers, some suggesting their own mascots (like Pokey the Post Office Turtle), and others telling us which of our mascot recommendations were their favorites (the winners seemed to be Sonny's BBQ mascot Porky the Bypass Patient and Bobby Bloodclot of WSOC-TV News).
City Councilwoman Susan Burgess suggested we come up with new mascots for Democrats and Republicans to replace the tired donkey and elephant, and while we're at it, maybe a mascot for independent, or unaffiliated, voters.
Ms. Burgess spoke (or Wild Sue, as we recently renamed her in a prospective campaign song, sung to the tune of "Wild Thing"), and we listened. We gave it a lot of thought, too. What mascots could we come up with that would be symbolic of the spirit of both parties, that would reflect contemporary political realities, that would give our cartoonist a bigger paycheck next week?
The term "Republicrat" has become part of the national dialogue in recent years for a reason: if it weren't for pseudo-Christian nuts' rants or Ted Kennedy's red-faced tirades, it'd be hard at times to remember that there are two parties. These days, both groups are overwhelmed by the influence of big corporate interests, which in effect are the power behind the throne. That leaves the parties with few fundamental differences; if you disagree, we suggest you watch the British Parliament debates on C-Span sometime for a taste of real political diversity.
So, in keeping with that view, artist Jim Hunt came up with our new mascots: two marionettes parading their few differences, while the overall direction of the country is run by the corporate puppetmaster. Oh, and the independent voters are slumped over in a corner, with no one to pull their strings. But hey, at least they're free.