Throughout the growth of America, slogans have shaped our history.
In our fledgling years as a nation, slogans like “Give me liberty or give me death” and “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” were the rally call for independence uniting Americans.
Later, during the modern era, a clarion call was issued: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your county” by a profoundly liberal American president to unite us in giving back. The singular consistent theme of these past slogans (and many others) is the use of meaningful pronouns — me and you.
A slogan is usually a short catchphrase used repeatedly to accentuate the message of public figures and stimulate support in the electorate. Today’s political climate offers many new clarion calls, but a search for words like “me and you” in slogans is hard to find, particularly on the national scene. Query: Why is that?
The current media style is to probe the intent of public figures who issue new slogans. This is a very slippery slope for meaningful discussion. For example, the media can vilify or glorify the public figure depending upon the media’s assessment of the speaker’s intent in using a particular slogan. This is hardly an objective approach. I suggest a more robust approach to the job of the FREE press would be to objectively examine the words of a slogan for meaningful pronouns like “me and you.”
Why are these two pronouns — me and you — the key to understanding the intent of today’s political speakers? Simply put, the underlying message of “me and you” is one of uniting us to act individually. When today’s slogans are examined, they call for the government to eliminate the ordinary struggles of me and you as we seek “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Their slogans urge us to believe that it is the government’s duty to enact plans that eliminate the ordinary life obstacles through such things as free college tuition, government-ordered elimination of student debt, free housing, elimination of the cost of medication through government mandates, and government-directed gun control measures through various mechanisms in order to eliminate the risk of violence.
Inherently, these slogans suggest “me and you” are not capable any longer. I submit that today’s slogans do not reflect any “bad” intent of the political speaker. Quite the contrary, their slogans reflect a heartfelt belief the government should help me and you by solving problems.
But clearly there is no clarion call in these modern day slogans for me and you to work hard to overcome ordinary obstacles inherent in the pursuit of happiness. When we substitute the word “government” for me and you, we forget how wonderfully diverse, ingenious and hardworking “me and you” have always been.
Even if the “government” could afford to enact all of plans to eliminate ordinary obstacles, why would “me and you” continue to be ingenious and hardworking?
I urge the next generation to think carefully about the true cost of today’s slogans. Eliminating “me and you” from the way forward will cost us our prized independence and the unity that has always made America special.