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1. Editorial cartoonists often use symbols to represent a person, group or idea. (the lion is a symbol of courage)
a) What does the donkey symbolize in this cartoon?
b) What does the football represent?
2. Cartoonists often use humor to illustrate a news item. What recent news item is illustrated in this cartoon?
3. Although there are some safeguards in place, the president of the United States has sole authority to launch a nuclear weapon. It is believed that this unprecedented request by a large number of Democrats to a Democratic president is due to the fact that:
- They are concerned over a perceived decline in President Biden’s cognitive abilities and/or belief that he may be suffering from some form of dementia. They must think it is unsafe for him to hold this power, concerned he may not have the cognitive ability to make a rapid decision on a matter of this magnitude — OR,
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in early January that she wanted to prevent what she claimed was an “unstable” President Donald Trump from launching a nuclear weapon in his remaining days in office; they are asking President Biden to change this sixty year old policy to prevent future presidents from having sole authority over launching a nuclear strike
a) Why do you think such a large number of Democrats made this request?
b) This story was mostly ignored by the media. Do you think it should have been a bigger news story? Why or why not?
c) Ask a parent to answer a) and b).
Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
1. a) The Donkey is the symbol of the Democratic Party; the donkeys in the cartoon represent Congressional Democrats.
b) The football represents the “nuclear football.” (The emblem on the football in the cartoon symbolizes nuclear radiation.)
The nuclear football is a briefcase, the contents of which are to be used by the President to authorize a nuclear attack while away from fixed command centers, such as the White House Situation Room. It functions as a mobile hub in the strategic defense system. It is held by an aide (usually a senior military officer).
2. Approximately 30 House Democrats sent a letter to President Biden this week asking him to renounce his sole authority to launch nuclear weapons – to change the process and instead consult with the next two in the chain of command – the vice president and the Speaker of the House, who would have to agree with a launch order from the president before it is executed, according to Politico.
3. Opinion questions. Answers vary.
Read a 2014 article “The Real Story of the “Football” That Follows the President Everywhere”