I would like to do this type of markup:
The point is that I don't want to specify the underlying element every time I want to put graphics on the page. It would make updating very annoying when you want to move graphics around and they are tied to specific element ids. My goal is to be able to use this like I could use img tag.
I have jQuery on the page so that could be used as well.
Here's an example of what i think you're trying to do: svg example
Create your placeholder divs with appropriate classes and then use jquery to fill them in with the correct svg.