Monday, August 11, 2014

He's For Us

I saw a Massachusetts pickup with a "Scott Brown/He's For Us" bumper sticker, so presumably that was a previous slogan of his, not a current offering in his NH race.  I have disliked that attitude when used by Democrats, and I find I don't like it any better when used by Republicans.

There is a superficial deniability that says "You know, us.  He's for the little guy, the common man, the regular people, not the special interests/corporate bigwigs/career politicians/elites."  Even if that is the conscious meaning, and sincerely felt, I don't believe it is the most powerful one.  It is a tribal appeal, us against them, which is unhealthy. Plus, even if many people don't know that this is what is swaying them, there are those who know full well, and embrace it anyway.

We stand or fall together.


jaed said...

"I'll fight for you!" is another one that gives me the same vibe. Fight whom? Well, you know... THEM.

I don't think I've ever heard a politician say that when he or she meant enemies of the country. It's always "that part of the electorate that I choose to demonize".

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Actually, that one is almost always Democrats. I noticed it about 20 years ago and have seen only a few counter-examples. Republicans say they will work for you. If fits the stereotypes of the constituencies. Republicans believe the system largely works, and only takes calm, intelligent management for everyone to go home with some sort of prize. Democrats include in their coalition a lot of people who believe the system is rigged against their group, and must be pummeled into submission to produce fairness.

Each has a point. I side more with the former, though not entirely.

You will notice that many of those who say they will fight or work for you, don't actually do that.

jaed said...

That's true, but not exactly what I meant. "Fight" implies you're fighting against someone, and the "someone" is always among the people you're vying to represent.

The verb is inherently divisive, in other words. It invites us to view some of our fellow-citizens as enemies and to elect a champion to defeat them on our behalf. Tribal.

james said...

"We stand or fall together" is exactly the question at issue. If the triumph of my tribe is the most important thing, the fate of the loose coalition with other tribes is less significant. And all those things you say will vanish when cooperation vanishes--our tribe is entitled to them come what may.

Texan99 said...

It affects me like the perennial poll question, "Which of these candidates most causes you to think 'He cares about people like me.'" And I wouldn't be sorry to see the phrase "special interests" fade from use, either.