The student blog for Drake University first year seminar entitled Visual Politics

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blue Collar Man

   Dale Peterson was a Republican candidate for the Alabama Agriculture Committee. He fully embodies the old school American cowboy republican. The entire ad is a giant collage of images that support this. From the constitution in the background of dog tags and his horse and cowboy hat, the symbolism does not just speak to the audience. It yells his beliefs and morals to his audience.
    The first image the viewer sees is the constitution along with the dog tags and marine badge. These strongly convey his roots in the marines and his belief in upholding the constitution. He mentions being a vet and fighting for his country in the Vietnam War. He is very patriotic throughout the commercial and nothing communicates this better then the constitution and the tags. Through this he is saying that he has fought for this country before and he will continue to fight for the constitution and uphold it. He can draw many supporters of this because many people respect a veteran. The fact that he fought for this country and is proud of it can say a lot about his character to a voter. This character continues to the next scene of the ad when he is on his horse.
     When Dale enters the scene he is riding his horse with a cowboy hat and big aviators on. The backdrop is a barn and a corral with a farm surrounding him. Immediately he mentions he was a farmer before and knows how to run farms. This seems like an important thing to know when running for the agriculture commissioner of a state but it is also an important message and symbol to sell our campaign on the farm. It easily conveys the message that Dale is a blue collar man who has the ability and the work ethic in order to get the job done. This also represents his patriotism in another way. He mentions that “thugs and criminals” are stealing the jobs in agriculture in Alabama. His attire and setting shows all American symbols, communicating his intentions to stop illegal immigration and help save the family farms.
   The final visual I found striking and actually kind of humorous, is when he pulls a rifle out of nowhere. It was just bam here’s a gun. As if this ad couldn’t get any more American we get a second amendment symbol thrown in front of our eyes. The funny thing is this happens to be right after he talked about the illegal immigrants and his opponent, saying he plans to get the job done. Is going to shoot them? It’s a funny question and I think they did a good job in placing this right after he mentions these two things he plans to get done. It really emphasizes his determination to do what it takes.
    Dale Peterson used many effective symbols in his political ad. He did not bother to hide these images at all. He basically threw all of his beliefs out to the audience with both his speaking and his imagery. He embodies the old school blue collar working, gun owning farmer who loves his country. -Travis Ormsby

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