Part 4: The Issues
Americans have never been more polarized than we are today and there is little empathy for those who think differently than we do. Overt racism and homophobia, the skewed distribution of wealth, gender inequality, and fear that social and technological changes are leaving many behind, are some of the concerns we are grappling with. The anger and aggression are palatable. And, when mixed with politics, these become incendiary.
Award for Careless Talk (version 1) (2010-09-25) by Jeff GatesChamomile Tea Party
Award for Careless Talk, 2010
This poster was created to commemorate Jon Stewart's and Stephen Colbert's "The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" in October 2010 on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The Chamomile Tea Party sadly/proudly presented this "Sopping Wet Tea Bag Award" to those who used their bully pulpits to misinform the American public.
Award For Careless Talk (1944) by Stevan DohanosChamomile Tea Party
Hey NRA! Are These Big Enough For Ya? (2012-12-23) by Jeff GatesChamomile Tea Party
Hey NRA! Are These Big Enough For Ya?, 2012
After twenty children and seven adults were killed by a deranged shooter with an assault weapon at Sandy Hook Elementary School, 58 killed in Las Vegas, and 17 in Parkland, Florida, can't we sit down and talk about gun violence without the rhetoric, anger, or shield of the 2nd Amendment?
Gun control advocates aren't asking to ban guns. But they are asking to find a place where we can all feel safer. Who needs an assault rifle to hunt? Who needs armor-piercing bullets that shred the body beyond repair? What will it take to have an intelligent and fair discussion about gun control in America?
The Washington Post published Five Myths About Gun Control. This is a good place to start.
Keep 'Em Coming and Coming Right! (1942) by UnknownChamomile Tea Party
Preditory Capitalism: Don't Let That Shadow Touch Them (2010-10-09) by Jeff GatesChamomile Tea Party
Don't Let That Shadow Touch Them, 2010
"Predatory Capitalism" results when companies' profit-making policies go unchecked by government regulations meant to protect citizens from harmful money-making schemes. The lending practices that led to the economic crisis in 2008 are examples of predatory capitalism.
Economist James Galbraith's theory of economic predation holds that "in a predatory regime, nothing is done for public reasons. Indeed, the men in charge do not recognize that 'public purposes' exist. They have friends and enemies, and as for the rest—we're the prey."
Why isn't the anger of laissez-faire, "hands-off" conservatives aimed at these corporations instead of just the government? Why is their culpability dismissed and ignored?
In 2018, the Senate passed a measure to roll back some consumer protections created after the Great Recession of 2008. This poster focuses on one element of this issue: advocating for individuals to take responsibility for protecting themselves and their families from fiscal policies that may be dangerous to their well-being. Buyer beware.
Don't Let That Shadow Touch Them. Buy War Bonds (1942) by Lawrence Beall SmithChamomile Tea Party
Illegal and Mismanged Foreclosures : All American Greed! (2011-07-30) by Jeff GatesChamomile Tea Party
Illegal and Mismanaged Foreclosures, 2011
Wall Street, the economy, government gridlock, extremism, and simple greed have led to the economic problems Americans face today. Part of the fallout has affected one of the prime tenets of the American Dream: owning one's own home. In 2011, foreclosures were at a record high, many of them because of mismanagement and lax mortgage requirements. No one was overseeing the process while unscrupulous banks and mortgage companies sold homes to people who could not afford to buy them.
As one example, watch the video below from a 60 Minutes exposé on mortgage mismanagement: The Next Housing Shock.
Video: 60 Minutes investigates the housing crisis, 2011
U.S. Savings Bonds Will Help You Get There! (1946) by Unknown, U.S. Department of the TreasuryChamomile Tea Party
Culture of Violence : Too Ordinary and Familiar (2013-09-25) by Jeff GatesChamomile Tea Party
Como Ha Sembrado la Inglesia Su Religion en España (How the Church has planted their religion in Spain) (circa 1936) by UnknownChamomile Tea Party
Como Ha Sembrado la Inglesia Su Religion en España (How the Church has planted their religion in Spain),, circa 1936, Anti-clerical, UGT Spanish Union poster critical of the established Catholic Church and pointing a link to Nazism.
America's New and Improved Neighborhood Watch (2013-02-01) by Jeff GatesChamomile Tea Party
America's New and Improved Neighborhood Watch, 2013
"There's something uncanny about drones. Flying one is a heady experience, but being watched by one is an eerie, oppressive, somewhat annoying feeling.... They're machines with ghosts in them, and the ghost is saying, "I can see you, but you can't see me." It's roughly analogous to interacting with an anonymous commenter on a blog: you're dealing with someone who is both present and absent, who has decided that what they say or do will have consequences for you but not for them.
"Drones bring that asymmetrical dynamic out into the real world: a drone is the physical avatar of the virtual presence of a real person. They provoke a new kind of anxiety, quite unlike the nuclear terror of the 1980s or the conspiracy-theory paranoia of the 1990s. They're a swarming, persistent presence, low-level but ubiquitous and above all anonymous. They could be al-Qaeda or your government or your friends and neighbors."
Cover Story, Time, February 11, 2013
"Daddy Helps Build Them" To Protect Our Freedom (1939/1945) by UnknownChamomile Tea Party
It Came From Benghazi (2014-06-07) by Jeff GatesChamomile Tea Party
It Came from Benghazi, 2014
In the spring of 2014, the warm weather was on its way and with it the beginning of Hollywood's blockbuster summer season. Washington, DC is like Hollywood: stars with mega-egos vying for our attention.
During the summer of 2014, critics (and the GOP) were looking forward to the debut of IT CAME FROM BENGHAZI: The House of Representatives' investigation of the events at Benghazi, Libya. Fact or fiction? Was then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responsible for the deaths of three Americans, including the US Ambassador to Libya? Or were these investigations politically motivated? It was sure to be as intriguing as any episode of House of Cards. But at what cost to taxpayers? Interestingly, nothing came of the investigation.
In 2017, suddenly, the Republican-led government faced its own Benghazi: the killing of four American soldiers in the African nation of Niger. And, just as suddenly, there was silence.
Before It's Too Late Buy War Bonds and Stamps (1942) by UnknownChamomile Tea Party
Before It's Too Late Buy War Bonds and Stamps, Artist Unknown, 1942, Kroger Grocery and Baking Company, National History Museum, Smithsonian Institution. Source: National Museum of American History, Smithsonian lnstitution
Stop the Money! (2015-11-18) by Jeff GatesChamomile Tea Party
Stop the Money!, 2015
The attacks by ISIS on innocent people in Paris, London, Manchester, and other European cities were heinous. The reaction by most Western powers was to counterattack. But this is about power, not religion.
One way to stop ISIS is to cut its money supply. As Charles P. Pierce stated in Esquire, let our government focus on where the money is coming from to fund these terrorists: the Gulf States. Pressure Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait to stop the funding of ISIS.
Ned Med Våbnene : Det Norske Arbeiderparti (Lay Down Your Arms, the Norwegian Workers Party) (1936) by Norwegian Labor PartyChamomile Tea Party
Torture, Lies, Subterfuge (2014-12-17) by Jeff GatesChamomile Tea Party
Horse-play with Weapons May End Like This (1943) by Abram GamesChamomile Tea Party
Don't Use Our Healthcare as Your Political Battlefield! (2013-10-27) by Jeff GatesChamomile Tea Party
Don't Use Our Healthcare as Your Political Battlefield!, 2013
The United States is one of the last First World countries to offer its citizens comprehensive health care. But the issue has been politically divisive and a target for extreme and often false political rhetoric. The Affordable Care Act is similar to a plan proposed by the Republican Party many years ago and actually implemented in 2006 in Massachusetts by then Governor, Mitt Romney.
So why has the GOP fought so hard to defeat Obamacare? For political advantage? Unbelievably, some in the GOP have stated health care is a privilege, not a right. But healthy citizens are productive citizens. Partisan politics has once again trumped good governance.
More! More of Everything —Quick! (circa 1943-1945) by UnknownChamomile Tea Party
More! More of Everything —Quick!; circa 1943-1945; Office for Emergency Management, Office of War Information, Domestic Operations Branch, Bureau of Special Services; Source: National Archives
We're All American : Start Acting Like It! (2015-04-05) by Jeff GatesChamomile Tea Party
Buy War Bonds (1942) by Newell Convers WyethChamomile Tea Party
Ignoring the Obvious to Protect Our Way of Life (2015-10-19) by Jeff GatesChamomile Tea Party
To Protect Our Way of Living (1940/1945) by UnknownChamomile Tea Party
To Protect Our Way of Living, circa 1940-1945, Artist Unknown
The Only Pre-Existing Condition We Worry About Now is the Republican Party (2012-07-04) by Jeff GatesChamomile Tea Party
Back Your Future with U.S. Savings BondsChamomile Tea Party
Politicians! Your Manly Insecurities Show When You Try to Control Our Bodies (2012-03-03) by Jeff GatesChamomile Tea Party
Women! Help America's Sons Win the WarChamomile Tea Party
Resist the Silent Erosion of Our Civil Liberties (2012-01-23) by Jeff GatesChamomile Tea Party
One Third of a Nation (1936/1939) by Leon Carlin, Federal Theatre ProjectChamomile Tea Party
Let Me Do the Talking! (2014-08-24) by Jeff GatesChamomile Tea Party
Let Me Do the Talking!, 2014
The killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, once again brought racial inequality and racial profiling to the surface. In addition, it renewed the debate over law enforcement's handling of these types of encounters and the militarization of local police forces.
After 9/11, the Defense Department gave excess heavy military equipment to domestic law enforcement agencies under its excess property program, also known as the 1033 program. After the media coverage in Ferguson, which looked like battle scenes from Ukraine or the Middle East, President Obama signed an Executive Order in May 2015, limiting and prohibiting the dissemination of certain types of equipment to local police. In August 2017, Donald Trump rolled back Obama's order.
Let Me Do the Talking! : Serve in Silence (1941/1943) by Homer AnsleyChamomile Tea Party
Flawed Candidate: Donald (2016-08-11) by Jeff GatesChamomile Tea Party
You have reached the end of Part 4: The Issues. Use the table of contents below to view Part 5: Post Truth: The Contentious 2016 Election or to return to any other section of this series.
Chronicles of American Politics: The Posters of the Chamomile Tea Party
Table of Contents
Part 1: Partisanship on Overdrive
Part 2: The Electorate
Part 3: Politicians and Our Political Process
Part 4: The Issues
Part 5: Post-Truth: The Contentious 2016 Election
Part 6: Post Election: Post-Truth Reaches New Heights
Part 7: Immigration, Obstruction, Redaction, Oh My!
Download a brief bibliography of topics covered in this exhibit.
Jeff Gates is an artist and writer. He formed the Chamomile Tea Party in 2010 to comment on the sad state of American political dialogue. Compromise, which, at the time, seemed merely difficult to obtain, now seems impossible. These posters reflect our political conflicts during this turbulent period and are meant to encourage exploration of our society’s cultural minefield.Gates has a BA in political science from Michigan State and an MFA in graphic design and photography from UCLA. He’s the recipient of two Photography Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work is in museum collections, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the International Center for Photography. He has written for publications such as The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and National Public Radio.These posters are free to download and distribute with attribution, providing they are unaltered and for non-commercial purposes only.
Contact the artist.