bloody shirtbloody shirt
something, as a political issue or historical event, that can be used to stir up outrage, partisan support, etc.: used chiefly in the phrase wave the bloody shirt, to stir up such outrage, support, etc.
(plural bloody shirts)
- (US, politics, slang) A reference to politicians mentioning martyrs and wars in an effort to draw empathy; especially in the context of the American Civil War