Symbolism of the Obama Justice Department

Symbolic images are powerful communicators of large overarching ideas and mythologies. Swastikas and olive branches convey meaning and imprint themselves on the mind. All political regimes create their visual icons and images as a first order of business. The American flag is one such political image. Since the beginning of our Republic the vision of the Stars and Stripes has served to carry the history and values of our nation. The flag is the most powerful, most revered and most iconic of all American symbols.

Each morning when I arrived for work at the San Diego Immigration Court, I logged onto the United States Department of Justice’s public website to check the goings on. For years, I was greeted by the DOJ website banner flying above the homepage. Department of Justice officials had, in my view, achieved the perfect vehicle for conveying the values of the Department and its mission. The banner is printed below. My guess is that your overall response is positive and the banner elicits something akin to pride and patriotism. That was my reaction along with a sense of the banner’s pure beauty.


Shortly after Obama’s election and the appointment of Eric Holder as the Attorney General, I arrived at my desk and logged on to find that the United States Department of Justice theme banner had been replaced with this:

DOJ_Black copy

Compare your response to viewing the original. Obama and Holder are well aware of the power of political symbolism. It is reasonable to ask if they are using the revised symbol to erode America’s history and unwind the culture of traditional America. Is there any other interpretation? Is there any reasonable explanation other than distaste for historical America? To whom are they communicating and what is the deeper meaning of what they wish convey?

We dismiss the DOJ website banner lightly at our own peril. How long will it be before we look back on such seemingly trivial events and say, “How could we have missed the signs”?

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