“Die!” “No!” “They’re the same,”

But are they really so different?

Tom Tordillo
2 min readMay 23, 2023
Image circulating on Facebook. Most of the captions or commentary I’ve seen indicates “this is what ‘both sides are crazy’ people sound like — as in, anyone who believes that both sides are the same is nuts.

One person holds a flag. Says “die.”
Another says “no.” Arms down, hands behind.
Round head. Blank face. Black lines. White space.
Red flag. Blue, white, pink stripes.
Same stick figure? Same types.
I want you to die. I don’t want to die.
Different. Same. Why?
Same artist. Or is it?
That twisted cross on red — who did it?
Those stripes, those colors, same source?
Symbols shared, each from its own course.

Blank “Third person” says “they’re the same!”
Arms thrown wide: to shrug? Or hug?
Or blame?

© 2023, Tom Tordillo. All rights reserved.

Gen X subverted “Have a Nice Day!” smiley faces imposed upon us by Baby Boomers. For decades, how many of the people forced to say “Have a Nice Day!” did so while working fast food/retail/customer service jobs for minimum wages?

Millennials subverted GenX’s subversion their own way — retain the smiley face, just omit smile and face. Commas become legit punctuation because,

The artist probably intended third person’s gesture as a “shrug” rather than spreading arms for a “hug.” The artist behind the original “Have a Nice Day” smiley face also had an intended meaning. But authors/artists don’t have the final say.

Being willing to hug a Nazi isn’t an endorsement of Nazism, so much as an acknowledgment that shared humanity supersedes every other difference. We must do what we must — but should strive to do so “with malice toward none.”



Tom Tordillo

Necromancer unleashing zombie hordes from Project Gutenberg to work literary atrocities. Also father/lawyer/commentator/ironic.