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The Chamomile Tea Party

We're Losing Our Competitive Edge

We’re Losing Our Competitive Edge subway platform ad, Washington, DC Metro, Chamomile Tea Party.

I have always been interested in the power and intersection of propaganda and design. And World War II was a fertile era for both. So I started to remix old propaganda posters from that period with contemporary messages about the rancor that is prevalent in contemporary American political discourse.

Congress seems to have become paralyzed by partisan politics. There has been so much party rhetoric it is become virtually impossible to get any important legislation passed. And Americans are suffering. As a graphic designer I wanted to create messages to the “powers that be” that we are hurting ourselves as a country and as a people. I also wanted to give the electorate something they could use to help voice their concerns. As we saw in Shepard Fairey’s 2008 portrait of Barack Obama, the visual can be a potent tool.

I have now published 61 of these posters under the moniker of the Chamomile Tea Party in an effort to bring calm and reason to American political discourse. The posters have been written about at The Huffington Post, The Atlantic and appear in Jonathan Haidt’s recent book on the American political process: The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion In addition, some of these posters will be included in Beyond Words: Cultural Texts for Reading and Writing, a high school textbook on cultural literacy. Finally, I was recently interviewed by the Urban Times on the genesis of this work.

The entire set of posters can be seen at chamomileteaparty.com.

© 2001-2015 Jeff Gates ISSN 1544-4074