Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
The Republicans (generalization acknowledged) can’t develop a vision for 2012, much less the future, because they’re wedded (one man, one woman style) to a mythical vision of the nation and it’s “traditional” past. They stumble frequently because it’s hard to look backward and pretend to step forward at the same time, even with this year’s “Believe in America” (as the Romney Campaign puts it) message to guide them.
The Democrats (generalization acknowledged) can’t develop a vision for 2012, much less for the future, because they’re too busy watching, and following, the Republicans, while simultaneously trying to appear safely centrist and sporadically progressive. They stumble frequently because it’s hard to keep an eye on the Republicans, periodically glance to the center, and take an occasional, very carefully calculated one quarter of step “Forward” while asking “Are You In?” (as the Obama Campaign puts it), all at the same time.
The U.S. Electorate (generalization acknowledged) can’t develop a vision for today, much less tomorrow, because they’re too busy pointing fingers Right and Left. We stumble frequently because (in part) about half the time we’re so busy pointing fingers we don’t see the multiple cans we kicked down the road earlier, until we trip over them. Again. The other half of the time we don’t stumble, because we’re so busy pointing fingers that we’re just standing still, repeating the familiar and apparently comforting arguments, like: “my guy’s (and most of the time, it is still a ‘guy’) better than your guy”; “Rethuglican!” / “Democrap!” name calling; lesser of two evils / “if you vote third party, you’re wasting your vote” and/or “voting for the other guy”; or just the fatalistic “we have no other choice.” Which, come to think of it, may be the campaign slogan of the Electorate.
The members of the Oligarchy (generalization acknowledged) who control their Two Party Front have their very own, very special vision. It’s working just fine. And if they do occasionally stumble, no worries: we’ll bail them out, all the while pointing fingers of blame at the other side of the Duopoly. If they have a campaign slogan, it might be “Believing in Ourselves, We Move Forward.”
So basically, in 2012, we have the same “choice” we always do. Whether it’s to “believe in America” or move “Forward” in America … there’s still only one, top-down approved definition of “America,” and of our appropriate, non-oligarchy roles in it.
(By the way, on the Romney Campaign website last week, I saw the use of the spin that it’s time for an “upgrade.” It disappeared, and sadly I hadn’t grabbed a link. It would have been fun to consider the similarities / differences of “upgrade” and “forward.” I’m thinking “upgrade” preserves the “traditional” framing better than “forward,” although the latter is presumably based on what’s been done the last three years or so, which has been quite “traditional,” too.)