April 24, 2007
Slogans for Dummies
Put simply, the Americans who are outside the said "intellectual elite" interpret the slogan this way: “Bush said my son wasn’t going to die, but he did.” Let’s call that the A version of the slogan. These people fail to see that the slogan actually means: “Bush’s lies gave rise to a war, in which my son died.”
The important point is that the basic slogan sounds nonsensical to the people in the A group. Their plausible-sounding objection to the slogan is this: “In a war, some soldiers are going to get killed. That is the reality of warfare. So it is unfair to call Bush a liar.”
I think this is really more serious than a simple misunderstanding. It hints at the enormity of the task facing the progressive movement, because it shows that the basic presuppositions of a large part of their potential audience are different than their own presuppositions. This potential audience is so backward politically that it has failed to perceive the chain of events, so clear to us, that led from the lies of Bush and his cronies to the war in Iraq.
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