Not to go all culture war-obsessed here…ah, hell, of course, I am going to go all culture war here.

I was struck last night about what legislators–in some cases of both parties–decided to promote through symbolism during the SOTU address.

It’s nothing new, as a concept. It’s just that in the past the most commonly recognized symbol displayed was the American flag, as a sign of unity and patriotism. Perhaps it still is the most common, and that’s why it’s the least noticeable.

Still, some of the most recognizable faces in politics chose to promote other issues, most prominently the Ukrainian flag or colors and, most awfully, pins that communicated “I love abortion.”

In some cases, both symbols appeared, which ironically enough both promote killing. Not that I equate warfare with abortion, nor do I want to imply that Ukraine is killing innocents, but it is a bit weird nonetheless.

I get the desire to support Ukraine, although I think its prominence in our political life is a bit off. Unlike Vietnam or Iraq, the US is simply backing a proxy, not directly fighting the war. It often seems we are, but I sure hope it never happens. Not a good strategy.

But abortion? Even if you support legalized abortion, portraying it as something to be loved–and those abortion pins literally have hearts in them–is a far cry from the old “safe, legal, and rare” mantra. We are in the shout your abortion phase where Democrats embrace with glee the elimination of a generation.

It strikes me as bizarre that, rather than simply making anodyne comments about medical decisions being made between a patient and doctor there is the open embrace of killing babies. It is ghoulish.

Other symbolic pins were on display, including some Congressional Black Caucus members wearing an “1870” pin, which commemorates the first time a free Black man was killed by a police officer. I actually find the fact surprising that it took 5 years after the end of the Civil War for that to happen since undoubtedly a significant number of people from other races must have been killed by lawmen during that time. I have no idea what the circumstances of the killing were.

Crayon pins were also on display according to Axios. Elizabeth Warren wore one, symbolizing the writing implement she used to write economics papers in school.

Why it matters: The pins weren’t just fashion — they were political statements.

The big picture: The pins seen on Congress’ outfits hit at multiple political subjects and brought awareness to specific issues like abortion rights, gun violence and police violence.

  • “1870”: Many members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other Democrats — including Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) — wore black pins with the number “1870” on them, a reference to the year of the first known police killing of a free unarmed Black person, the Washington Post reports.

“I know most cops are good. decent people. They risk their lives every time they put on that shield…When police officers or departments violate the public’s trust, we must hold them accountable.”

— Biden on Tyre Nichols’ death during the State of the Union address.

I actually agree with Biden on his call for accountability, and while I think that Blacks who get killed unnecessarily by the police deserve justice, so does everyone else.

  • Blue and yellow: Some lawmakers wore blue-and-yellow pins and ribbons in support of Ukraine, AP reports. Some wore the ribbons in last year’s State of the Union too.
  • “We are going to stand with you as long as it takes,” Biden said Tuesday he called for Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S. and First Lady Jill Biden’s guest, to stand as the crowd applauded.

Enough with Ukraine! We are supporting Ukraine for totally defensible reasons, few if any of them having to do with the defense of democracy. I am not opposed to supporting Ukraine in the war, although I am skeptical about pursuing a long war that risks becoming WWIII. There is plenty of evidence that America wants to bleed Russia dry in a long war, and that we are keeping the war going. The price of blood and treasure is very high.

Replacing US flags with Ukrainian ones strikes me as inappropriate.

In any case, I just can’t get over the “I love abortion” pins. The Democrats have staked out such an extreme position on the issue–abortion until birth is a positive good–that I am surprised that more people are not disgusted. They have elevated abortion to sacrament status.

It is gross.

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