A Czech Republic political candidate made headlines this week, not for his policy but for his face full of tattoos. There may not be anyone that extreme in Washington, but American politicians have been hiding their own ink under blazers and congressional pins for years. Congressional Representatives, members of the White House cabinet and even presidents have indulged in the painful practice of body art.
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. uses his arms as a form of expression, with tattoos to symbolize his family; his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi; and even Bruce Lee.
Rep. Dan Boren also has a fraternity tattoo. He joined Kappa Sigma.
Rep. Mary Bono Mack made a pit stop at a tattoo parlor shortly after 9/11. There she got a tattoo of a cross as a proclamation of her faith.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, a former Marine Corps officer, has tattoos on his arms to commemorate his three deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The late Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., the Republican Party’s nominee for President in 1964, had four small stars and a half moon on the underside of his wrist. According to Roll Call the tattoo was intended to symbolize his “participation in the Smoki People, a group of largely white, Native American culture enthusiasts in the Southwest.”
President Theodore Roosevelt had his family crest tattooed on his chest.
Just because politicians are typically buttoned up does not mean that they can’t have a little fun with their artistic creations. Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz has a tiger, the mascot of his alma mater, Princeton, tattooed on the left side of his derriere. According to a Chicago Tribune piece published in 1987, confirmation of Shultz’s racy rear end came from his wife, Helena. She confirmed the rumors to reporters on the secretary’s plane during a trip to China.
Other politicians, whether or not they got their own tattoos, have inspired others. The faces of John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln and Sarah Palin have all graced the bodies of supporters (or their opposition).
Even pop super star Miley Cyrus recently inked up her arm with a Theodore Roosevelt quote that reads, “So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
Vladimir Franz, 53, is a Czech drama professor, a talented painter and a prolific opera and theater composer. But Franz wants to move out of the arts and into politics. If he can win his longshot bid to become president of the Czech Republic, he’d go down in history as the world’s first head of state with a fully tattooed head.
Franz has tattoos covering 90 percent of his body, a variety of body piercings and dyed, blue hair.
Franz’ presidential bid aims to oust Vaclav Klaus, the sitting president of the Czech Republic since 2003. He is not only running as an oddity but as an independent whose political views are far less extreme than his looks. According to the Daily Mail, Franz’ “politics are moderate, promoting tolerance, human rights, democracy and encouraging the search for alternative energy sources.”
Though many think that the campaign of this unlikely candidate is a joke, Franz assures them that it is not. He is charging full force ahead with his campaign, travelling across the Eastern European country collecting the 50,000 signatures required to run for office.
And people seem to be taking to the campaign as Franz collected almost 8,800 signatures during his first weekend of campaigning.
Though he is new to politics, Franz has already assimilated into the life of a politician, utilizing social networking sites, like Facebook where he has well over 25,000 followers.
The striking candidate is the living example of not judging a book by its cover or a candidate by his ink.
Franz, whose intimidating image may be off-putting to some, graduated from law school and got a doctorate in the field of law. Franz never pursued a career in law, rather he dedicated his life to the arts–in more than one sense of the word.
By Jilian Fama of ABC News