Apparently there’s a fair amount of consternation on the right about the Obama campaign’s slogan, “Forward.”. (Although there’s disagreement as to whether it proves Pres. Obama is a communist, a fascist, or a Wisconsinite.) Even some (presumably non-ideological) grammarians are in a tizzy about it.
I think they’re missing the point. The Obama campaign is not inspiring and exhorting its followers to join in a pseudo-Maoist Great Leap Forward! It’s stating—in straightforward, un-italicized, un-bolded script—the campaign’s calm, unemotional determination and resolve. Forward.
And in doing that, it taps into a little-remarked-upon but nonetheless significant undercurrent that, in part, accounts for the steadiness of Pres. Obama’s polling numbers all year: the memory most Democrats have of the Bush presidency, and their unshakeable commitment not to allow “that crowd” back into the White House this year.
We are not going back:
- to the most bellicose foreign policy since the McKinley administration.
- to the politics of privatizing Social Security and Medicare.
- to the national shame of letting a great American city drown because the federal government is run by people who don’t care about the physical infrastructure the government builds or the administrative infrastructure that makes government work in times of crisis.
- to the policies that led to a global financial collapse, a brutal recession, and an ongoing depression that we are still trying to climb out of nearly five years later.
There’s no need (and no spare time or energy) for emotional displays. There’s just the need to take care of business and get Barack Obama re-elected.
This is the “Forward.” of Harriet Tubman in the middle of a rescue operation on the Underground Railroad pulling out her revolver, pointing it at the head of an escaping slave who’s had second thoughts about returning to his plantation, and saying flatly, “You go on or die.”
This is the “Forward.” of Ulysses Grant, upon being promoted to Lieutenant General and given command the Union Army, determining to go on the offensive and attack the Confederacy and its armies on all fronts.
This is the “Forward.” of Bob Moses organizing the Freedom Summer with the cold, calculated, hard-won knowledge that putting Northern white college students in harm’s way along with Southern black working folk might be what was needed to break the back of the terrorist reign of Jim Crow in Mississippi.
This is the “Forward.” of anyone who’s partway through a difficult task and is determined to see it through to the finish…and is equally determined not to allow a gang of vandals to destroy their half-finished hard work.
It may not be a sexy (or easy) story line for reporters and pundits covering the campaign. And it’s certainly not the secret communist takeover of fevered right-wing imaginings. But for those who look at the Republican Party’s talk of “restoring” America, and see a party determined to “restore” uppity women, dark-skinned subversives, godless homosexuals and class-warfare advocates to their “proper” place in society, that doesn’t matter. Because we’re not going back to that America. We’re going…
Crossposted at: http://masscommons.wordpress.com/