How Many Politicians Does It Take to Screw Up a Light Bulb?

Photo by Chuck Coker on, (cc) some rights reserved.My three least favorite creative executions: light bulbs, puzzle pieces and mimes. Light bulbs top my list because I can’t think of a more tired symbol for creativity or innovation.

Today, the light bulb becomes a symbol for something new: freedom. That’s because the House of Representatives is voting to repeal part of a 2007 energy bill that requires light bulbs to use less energy, extinguishing high-wattage incandescent bulbs.

Clever GOP and Tea Party advocates for the repeal have picked a simple frame for their argument: The government has no business telling you what kind of light bulb to use in your home.

And that’s why, today, a light bulb is no longer a light bulb. It’s one more ugly line in the sand dividing compact-fluorescent liberals and incandescent conservatives.

You got it: “I’ll give you my incandescent light bulb when you pry it from my cold dead hands.”

Today’s vote should be a light bulb going off for Democrats—symbols speak louder than words.

There are a thousand logical reasons that we need to consume less energy. But they’re all just noise when battling simple, emotional messages like “personal freedom” and “less government.”