FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Lost in the Glistening Generalities

The smartness of a political ad or message is often proportional to the stupidity of the audience it intends to influence.  Take the recent lawn sign promoted by the Obama campaign team which says, “Occupy the Vote…”  It was never a surprise that the administration and its lackeys in the Congress would eventually, if not quickly, co-opt the movement. What shows the smartness of their campaign is how they use it in promoting their candidate.

We all know how the police throughout the US have been brutally harassing Occupy protesters. They’ve been shot at, pepper sprayed, beaten, arrested, monitored, intimidated, and had much of their civil and political rights abrogated. This was done in coordination with Homeland Security providing the means and the intelligence to the local police forces.  It is this irony which shows the smartness/stupidity related to the slogan.   Do those who support Obama have any clue that the Occupy movement was directly victimized by this administration?  Very unlikely. Would it even make a difference? Probably not, as it seems most Americans often vote against their own interests.

One of the techniques used in propaganda, whether it be for political campaigns or advertising, is called ‘glistening generalities’. Motherhood and apple pie is what America is all about. Why not parenthood and cole slaw? Just doesn’t have that ring and who can be against mom and apple pie? But what does that mean? The two leading campaigns’ slogans are just as vacuous. Obama’s message is “Forward” with a period, unlike Dr Pepper without the period.  No candidate, except perhaps the Know Nothings of the 1850’s or a Pat Buchanan campaign, would say something like “Backwards”.  Romney’s is just as broad: Believe in America.  At least Ronald Reagan, Obama’s hero, had more of an umph with “Morning in America”.  Now that evoked a bright, sunny new day.

Slogans with a real message often are reserved for those candidates who have brains but little hope for success.  The Green Party’s slogan is “A Green Future for America”. We know what that means: green jobs. The Libertarian’s slogan is simply “Live Free”.  Free means ‘lack of’ and those who know the party’s philosophy would immediately recognize it as free from government.  “Take the Power Back” is brought to you by the Socialist Party USA.  A bit general but the message here is also clear.  These are smart but when your chances are slim to none, it’s best to go all out with the message all can understand and reflects the party’s philosophy or creed. Leave it to the Obama and Romney campaigns to be as empty with their slogans as they want to be.  God forbid they would actually promote something in their message!

Myles B. Hoenig is a veteran ESOL teacher in Prince George’s County, MD.

More articles by:

January 15, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Refugees Are in the English Channel Because of Western Interventions in the Middle East
Howard Lisnoff
The Faux Political System by the Numbers
Lawrence Davidson
Amos Oz and the Real Israel
John W. Whitehead
Beware the Emergency State
John Laforge
Loudmouths against Nuclear Lawlessness
Myles Hoenig
Labor in the Age of Trump
Jeff Cohen
Mainstream Media Bias on 2020 Democratic Race Already in High Gear
Dean Baker
Will Paying for Kidneys Reduce the Transplant Wait List?
George Ochenski
Trump’s Wall and the Montana Senate’s Theater of the Absurd
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: the Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Glenn Sacks
On the Picket Lines: Los Angeles Teachers Go On Strike for First Time in 30 Years
Jonah Raskin
Love in a Cold War Climate
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party
January 14, 2019
Kenn Orphan
The Tears of Justin Trudeau
Julia Stein
California Needs a 10-Year Green New Deal
Dean Baker
Declining Birth Rates: Is the US in Danger of Running Out of People?
Robert Fisk
The US Media has Lost One of Its Sanest Voices on Military Matters
Vijay Prashad
5.5 Million Women Build Their Wall
Nicky Reid
Lessons From Rojava
Ted Rall
Here is the Progressive Agenda
Robert Koehler
A Green Future is One Without War
Gary Leupp
The Chickens Come Home to Roost….in Northern Syria
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: “The Country Is Watching”
Sam Gordon
Who Are Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists?
Weekend Edition
January 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Richard Moser
Neoliberalism: Free Market Fundamentalism or Corporate Power?
Paul Street
Bordering on Fascism: Scholars Reflect on Dangerous Times
Joseph Majerle III – Matthew Stevenson
Who or What Brought Down Dag Hammarskjöld?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
How Tre Arrow Became America’s Most Wanted Environmental “Terrorist”
Andrew Levine
Dealbreakers: The Democrats, Trump and His Wall
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Que Syria, Syria
Dave Lindorff
A Potentially Tectonic Event Shakes up the Mumia Abu-Jamal Case
Nick Pemberton
There Are More Important Things Than The Truth
Brian Cloughley
How Trump’s Insults and Lies are Harming America
David Rosen
Sexual Predators in the Era of Trump
Tamara Pearson
Everything the Western Mainstream Media Outlets Get Wrong When Covering Poor Countries
Richard E. Rubenstein
Trump vs. the Anti-Trumps: It’s the System That Needs Changing Not Just the Personnel
Christopher Ketcham
A Walk in the Woods, Away from the Screens
Basav Sen
Democrats Failed Their First Big Test on Climate
Lauren Smith
Nicaragua – The Irony of the NICA Act Being Signed into Law by Trump
Joseph Natoli
Will Trumpism Outlive Trump?
Olivia Alperstein
The EPA Rule Change That Could Kill Thousands
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
The New Congress Needs to Create a Green Planet at Peace
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
Cuba: Trump Turns the Vise
Ramzy Baroud
When Bolsonaro and Netanyahu Are ‘Brothers’: Why Brazil Should Shun the Israeli Model
Mitchell Zimmerman
Government by Extortion
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail