Some people take it too far

Barack Obama — A graphic cartoon of the president causes uproar and an eventual resignation of Loudoun County Republican Committee Communications Director Robert Jesionowski. Photo credit: Eli Overbey

I am a lover of all things having to do with zombies. “Night of the Living Dead” is, by far, one of my favorite horror films. The original 1968 Romero film is a classic treatise on race relations in America – with zombies. However, not every political struggle is appropriately depicted via images of the living dead.

Case in point: the image of a zombie President Obama with a bullet through his head recently released by the Loudoun County GOP committee.

The controversy began Oct. 29 when an email was circulated among Loudoun County Republicans in hopes of recruiting volunteers to pass out candy at a local Halloween festival.

A collage of images was included in the email, one of which depicted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi with distorted features and a bulging eye.

The Virginia Republican Partywas quick to condemn the image. Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell called the message “shameful and offensive,” according to the article “Zombie Obama Email: Virginia GOP Condemns Image of President with Bullet Through Head” on

Loudoun County Republican Committee Communications Director Robert Jesionowski resigned Nov. 2 after taking full responsibility for the email.

“This was in bad taste, does not reflect my own principles nor those of any political activist or candidate I know in either party, and if I had reflected a little longer, I would have caught it,” Jesionowski wrote in a letter to committee chairman Mark Sell, according to the article “Official Quits over Obama Zombie Email” on

The controversy surrounding this issue stems primarily from the cranial bullet hole included in the image. The image of a zombified president does not seem worthy of contention. Provided Jesionowski had circulated an image of a zombie Obama more in the “Night of the Living Dead” vein minus the fatal wound in his forehead, the email could have remained safely within the confines of satire. Instead, the insinuation of violent assassination steps over the line of satire into the realm of offensive.

Censorship, in many instances, is a violation of free speech. Had a private citizen emailed the image in question to his or her friends, there should be no issue. It will be a dark day in America when we begin censoring images critical of the president in the same way satirical images of the Muslim prophet Mohammed are censored.

The difference here is that an employee of the Republican Party circulated this image. Such an act insinuates an endorsement of violence against the president, whether that was the intended message or not.

Regardless of whether you agree with the president’s political stance and policies, he remains the president and should be treated with proper respect. Considering this country’s history of both attempted and successful political assassinations, more care should be taken when satirizing a public official.

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