Choosing Sides : Right-Wing Icons in the Group Research Records

Portraying Patriotism > Threatened Icons

Disarmament and the Phoenix Papers. Christian Crusade Recordings, 1966.

Another offering from the Christian Crusade's prolific proselytizer, Billy James Hargis (see: Christian Crusade litter bag), this 1966 album probably appeared as a compelement to the Christian Crusade's publication in the same year of James Bales' The Phoenix Papers: If Not Treason, What? In both cases, the Christian Crusade's evangelists lamented the threat to US security they felt lay at the heart of any arms control agreements brokered with the Soviet Union. One need not get past the album's cover to get its message: that disarmament would lead to the destruction of the entire country, symbolized here by the shattered seal of the United States.

The Trial of Freedom. Creator unknown, 1962.

Distributed by the Boise-based Idaho Savings and Loan Association, this pamphlet sought to demonstrate "some facts about two ways of life" in order to let them "stand or fall in plain view on their own merits." By "two ways of life," the pamphlet’s editor meant democracy and communism, as represented by the United States and the USSR and symbolized on the pamphlet’s cover by the Statue of Liberty and the Soviet hammer and sickle. In order to achieve this goal, The Trial of Freedom presented contrasting quotations from sources representing both countries: "The Communist Manifesto, the Soviet Constitution, the edicts of Communist leaders" on the one side, and "our Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the statements of patriotic Americans" on the other.

Divided according to subjects such as "equality," "justice," "religion," "education," "economics," and "government," the quotations presented in Trial of Freedom literally sought to compare the two societies "on those basic issues that affect everyday life." While the level balance on the pamphlet’s cover represented the pamphlet’s assertion that "many people in many nations are today actually making their choice between Democracy and Communism," the pamphlet’s actual text concluded at the end of each section that US democracy was clearly the superior "way of life."

The Upright Ostrich, Volume 2, Number 6. The Order of the Upright Ostrich; "Goot" (illustrations), June-July 1983.

Published and edited by someone calling herself "Peggy Poor," The Upright Ostrich first appeared out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1982. Decidedly libertarian in its outlook, the Ostrich's editorials, articles, letters, and reprints from other publications asserted thoughts such as that the writers of the US Constitution "did not have their heads buried in any collectivist-polluted sands of do-gooder delusions and Machiavellian deceptions, [and] knew that the best government is the least government." Though few copies remain today, the Ostrich appears to have lasted at least into the early 1990s.

An artist who identified him or herself as "Goot" liberally illustrated issues of the Ostrich, often using the newsletter’s eponymous mascot as a blank canvas on which to caricature a particular article or feature. Pictured as a single spread here are the front and back covers of the June-July 1983 issue. The ostrich image featured on the front cover changed for each issue, but this spread also shows three instances (one on the front cover, two on the back) of Goot’s use of an upside-down US flag. Almost as frequent as the ostrich image in the newsletter’s publication was this symbol, which it used because "the upside down flag is [an] internationally recognized signal of distress. USA is in distress."

Should Americans Be Compelled to Join Labor Unions? The National Right to Work Committee, c. 1971.

The National Right to Work Committee organized in 1955 to lobby for the state-level enactment of so-called "right to work" laws throughout the country. Under section 14(b) of the federal Taft-Hartley Act passed in 1947, states have the option to pass such laws barring "membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment." As illustrated here, groups in favor of these laws frequently portrayed the issue as one group in favor of individual liberty versus another corrupt group grasping at autocratic power. As the inside of the pictured flyer put it, "compulsory union membership is the source of union officials' excessive political and economic power," while "Right to Work Guarantees a Free Choice." Such sentiment is directly illustrated on the flyer's cover, with the hand of organized labor symbolically crushing the liberty of American workers.

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