One of the most entertaining stories we’ve read lately was published this week by Roll Call’s John Stanton about tattoos in the U.S. Congress. Stanton let us know which members of Congress are sporting ink under their buttoned up suits. Some have small reminders of time in the service or of their heritage. Others, like Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) have half-sleeves that cover their upper arms. Stanton reports:
“So if, as lawmakers are so fond of saying, Congress is indeed a reflection of America, it would follow that some 60 Members of the House and 16 Senators have found themselves at least once under the gun, so to speak.”
Stanton revealed that he has ink of his own. He has a total of eight tattoos and he tells FBDC that his “right sleeve is almost done and my upper left arm is almost done. I have an ink well and quill tattoo, a tattoo of a harp carved from bog wood that my great grandmother brought from Ireland, among others.” Stanton’s stature combined with his well-known tattoos sparked plenty of instant reaction via Twitter on Tuesday.
Christina Bellantoni of PBS’ NewsHour says, “I’ve been waiting for this story for 2 years.” Mike Madden of Washington City Paper says, “File under ‘write what you know.’” USA Today’s Jackie Kucinich tweets, “It is pure poetry that @bigjohnrc wrote this story about lawmakers with ink.”
Say what you will about the competitive nature of journalism, we lost count of how many retweets and kind words were spread around the internet. It reached a feverish breaking point to where NY Mag’s obviously cantankerous Assoc. Editor Dan Amira snapped, “Ok, we get it Roll Call, you have an article on tattoos.”
While Stanton “outed” several members of Congress for having tattoos, it’s interesting to note that none of the lawmakers who admitted to having the ink would pose for a picture showcasing their body art. So, while these politicians will talk freely about their tats, they clearly still feel that there is a stigma attached to coming clean with their body art.