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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Did you ever wonder how the elephant and the donkey became symbols of the Republican and Democratic parties? Both debuted in Harper's Weekly in political cartoons drawn by the famed Thomas Nast. The donkey first appeared in 1870. The elephant arrived four years later. In fact it was this month in 1870 that the iconic mule hit the scene in a cartoon titled "A Live Jackass Kicking A Dead Lion." But that was a very long time ago and some think it's well past time that both symbols got a well-deserved makeover. One of those who supports choosing a new symbol for a new age is commentator Jesse Kalisher.TEXT OF COMMENTARY

JESSE KALISHER: If the Democrats had any moxie at all they'd create a modern logo — perhaps a snappy red, white and blue one, something in a stylized American flag type of design.

Of course, then the Democratic logo would be sacred. Don't print it on toilet paper, don't swear at it and whatever you do, don't burn it. That would really cheese the Republicans.

But imagine the possibilities! Once they've nixed the jackass, the democratic faithful would be awash in tchotchkes: hats, pins, umbrellas, coffee mugs, t-shirts, even a free something-or-other with your next McDonald's Happy Meal.

Hey, this is the dawn of the 21st Century. What more could we ask of our democracy?

You think I'm crazy? Think again. After all, what's a modern brand without a powerful logo? I'll tell you what that is: It's a franchise without a following, it's a candidate without an identity, it's, it's . . . it's a party without contributors or enough votes on the Supreme Court, that's what that is.

Of course, the Republicans would have to announce their own revamped logo. Instead of the slow-moving elephant, I envision this: an eagle with fierce, all-knowing eyes.

He could be named Regal Eagle. Reagle Eagle would possess secret, superpowers that would allow him to solve any problem in a foreign country by throwing money and bombs, while solving any problem here in America by leaning back and saying, 'hey, it's a local problem, let them handle it.'

Reagle Eagle would have his own Saturday morning cartoon show. There'd be a video game. And a website. Quick, register reagleagle.com, it'll be worth a fortune.

With the new logos, cartoon shows, and video games, about only thing the two parties would be missing is a theme park. Hey now, wait a minute, I think they may actually already have one.

It's called Washington D.C. It's got a mall and everything.

THOMAS: Commentator and photographer Jesse Kalisher is also the author of "If You Find the Buddha."