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Editorial: Kuster’s photo is worth at least 1,000 words

Most of the photographs used by politicians to promote themselves are tiresome in the extreme: the dark suit, the carefully coiffed hair, the frozen smile. In that context, the picture used these days by 2nd District Rep. Annie Kuster on her official Facebook page is all the more startling, refreshing and cool.

Kuster’s photograph shows her with a swatch of silver-gray duct tape covering her mouth. On her left cheek, in black and red paint, is the symbol “NOH8.” With her right hand, she has two fingers (Peace? Victory?) pointed at her temple.

What in the world?

The picture was part of a recent congressional photo shoot conducted by the NOH8 (No Hate) Campaign. The group, which promotes marriage equality, created the photo project as a silent protest in response to the passage of Proposition 8, the measure banning same-sex marriage in California and recently overturned by the Supreme Court. The photos feature subjects all with duct tape over their mouths, symbolizing their voices being silenced by the California law and others like it.

The recent congressional photos – taken shortly before the Supreme Court ruling – were just the latest pictures in a multi-year project that includes nearly 30,000 faces. And it’s not over yet: Later this summer, photographers will be making portraits in Holland, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Denmark.

In Washington, 98 members of Congress have participated, in three separate photo sessions, most recently the 67 portraits made in June, including Kuster’s. The group includes two U.S. senators (Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut) and a single Republican: Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida. It includes the Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and Rep. Xavier Becerra of California, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

As a collection, the photos of the congressional representatives are fascinating to look at. (You can find them at Rep. Paul Grijalva of Arizona poses with a clenched fist. Rep. Janice Hahn of California uses her fingers to form a heart. Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois shows off a muscle. Rep. Bruce Braley of Iowa sports “NOH8” stickers on two bright, red boxing gloves.

The legislators were allowed to include a quote about their feelings about the issue. Kuster’s was straightforward. She said, in part, “Every American deserves to be treated equally under the law – period. That is fundamental to who we are as a country, and I was proud to join more than 60 members of Congress in supporting the NOH8 campaign and the cause of equality for all Americans.”

Publicly supporting gay rights is becoming less and less dangerous for American politicians with each passing week. But for members of Congress to be photographed looking weird or provocative – really, anything other than safe, polished and boring – remains a risk.

Kuster lent her face to an interesting campaign and then promoted it from her own Facebook page. A breath of fresh air indeed.

Legacy Comments21

Many twinkles are happy she has duct tape over her mouth.

"Twinkies"? So which part of hate is that geared to? The fact that she is a woman? Do you feel her appearance isn't up to your standards? Is "Twinkies" a gay reference? Actually your comment says a lot more about your sick ignorance than it does about Annie.

Kuster shows her hypocrisy to the Nth degree on this baloney..... she is the BIGGEST purveyor of hate... telling her constituents to "F*** YOUUUUUU!" when they asked a question she did not like. The Democrats have proven to be the new KKK what with all these racist hate crimes against whites being committed... people being beaten and killed 'for Trayvon'. Obama and Holder are two very dangerous people. It's like the KKK got into office, which makes them more powerful, destructive and dangerous than anything we saw in the south in the 60s.

Comparing Obama and Holder to KKK? Seriously? I'm guessing you know a lot about that. Are your white sheets washed and ironed?

First of all, it was "Eff him," not "F*** You." She never uttered the four letter word. Second, it was in response to a tracker harrassing her for several minutes with a camera inches from her face, TRYING to get an unbecoming reaction from her. The tracker was wrong. Kuster was.... unbecoming. Score one for the tracker. Now, is that the only thing you can point to to "prove" that Kuster is a hater?

To me this picture says that she is interested in any fringe group that will get her votes, she'll pander to them to the detriment of the working people, you know, the ones who pay her exorbitant salary that allows her to march lock-step with the Reid, Pelosi, Obama triumvirate. It would be nice if we could find a politician who considers them self an American first instead of a political party loyalist.

Fringe groups? That's what you get from this picture? So you don't think kids get bullied in school? You don't think gays are beaten and killed? You don't think racism still exists? Guess again. It's okay to call Reid, Pelosi and Obama a triumvirate, but not to include McConnell, Boehner, Cantor and Koch's minions to be in lock step?

Why is this group bringing "H8" or HATE into this discussion? Why is it assumed that just because you may disagree with same-sex marriage, because you have been brought up with the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, that you automatically "HATE" homosexuals? I have to ask, does this go to show that Democrats "H8" anyone that disagrees with their beliefs!

Very good question sunnydayz. You would think using that motto would alienate many folks. You know, all that talk about being civil, tolerant, etc. The sad truth is that if you disagree with a Progressive on any issue, you will be labeled hateful. That is how they role. Or greedy, racist, mean, etc. They demand tolerance and acceptance from others, yet they are incapable of practicing those two ethics themselves..

Exactly my point! Well said Rabbit!

Ok, lets assume she really believes: “Every American deserves to be treated equally under the law – period." Why isn't she leading the nation in prosecuting the IRS, BATFE, and other gestapo-like orgs for civil rights violations? Also, why isn't she screaming to cut off all aid to nations that don't support our civil rights in their homeland?

Kuster Facebook page is startling, but far from refreshing and cool. What is Kuster trying to do relive her Woodstock years? Lets face it Kuster is far from photogenic so hiding as much of her face as possible is a good idea. If Kuster wants to look foolish that is get. But for the monitor to tell us that this is cool when it is clearly not is jut the Monitor being the Monitor a complete shill for the Democrat party. If the Monitor wanted for No Hate to be cool and be part of their philosophy as a newspaper it would fire their hate filled editorial staff and cartoonist and replace them with a more balanced staff that treat Republicans no different democrats. A no Hate Monitor now that would be startling, refreshing and cool.

Please pardon the typos in the above comment. The Monitor's new cheapo comment section doesn't allow for edits any more.

the new Monitor is a not an improvement but just a change....kind of like democrat policies

"Far from photogenic?" Are politicians now required to have better-than-average physically attractiveness in order to be respected? No? Then why mention it?

Field-of-Ferns, you have a good point. My point is more at the Monitor and how they are desperately trying to make Kuster relevant.. I am sure I have "broken a few cameras" along the way so looks aren't that important.

Well Field of Ferns I guess the treatment of Sarah Palin pretty much dispells that theory, that you have to be good looking to garner respect. I have always felt that attacking folks based on their appearance was pretty low. But that is filthy politics these days. If you cannot argue the facts, attack the person on every level. Having said that, when you practice the same tactcs that you accuse others of, then that pretty much makes your argument stupid. I have always been of the opinion that calling someone on bad behavior then doing the same thing is nothing more than the two kids on the playground who call each other names. Adults are suppose to debate the issues. That is if you are an informed adult. Those who are not informed, name call.

Who cares if they are photogenic. The point is that it is not in good taste that they take this kind of political stance. It is silly and in poor taste, not to mention juvenile.

Funny, Marland could have used this. A cartoon with Kuster having her mouth duct taped after she dropped the F Bomb. By the way, is she paying her taxes now? Always warms the heart when you hear about millionaires who do not pay their taxes and are constantly asking us lower income folks to pay more taxes.

This photo is a classic misdirection of the real issue. Statist's and collectivists use group's to confuse the real issue. They will have these meaningless battles to confuse both sides and misdirect the fact the federal government doesn't have the power to regulate any religious ceremony including marriage. Politics will attract powerseaking zealots on both sides to rally to their cause instead of realizing government regulation destroys freedom. I say live and let live and mind your own P's and Q's. Peace Brian

A picture is worth a thousand words. Her actions are worth a lot more!

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