There have been complaints about the Democrats that they’ve got no strong coherent message for this year’s election– something that transcends individual races and fortifies a desire in the public to go Blue on a national scale.
In view of the failures of Democrats to bolster their campaigns with effective messaging in the two previous (disastrous) off-year elections (2010 and 2014), those complaints should be taken seriously.
To address those concerns, I would like to propose a slogan (or motto) for this year’s Democratic campaigns, to be used nation-wide:
“Truth, Justice, and the American Way”
I see this motto as having two strengths:
First, it has a deep resonance by virtue of its tapping into a cultural image of a heroic fight to protect basic patriotic values against bad people.
That’s because the phrase comes from the introductory narrative with which every episode of the old-time (radio and TV) Superman programs began.
(For that whole introductory narrative, see the NOTE below.)
That kind of resonance, I believe, would help put the Democratic campaign into a heroic mode. This is indeed a moment when so much is threatened that we Democrats are called to rise heroically to confront the danger.
A Coherent Framework
Second, this campaign slogan provides a trio of three baskets for the Democrats to fill with their issues.
Surely, with Trump in the White House and the Republicans controlling Congress, there’s a profound assault ongoing against truth, against justice, and against the American way.
The Democrats can represent themselves as engaged in that battle to defend those important values– against the lie, against the unjust plutocracy, against the trampling on America’s political norms and constitutional order.
Indeed, most Democratic issues can be fit into the baskets provided by that tri-partite slogan. Each candidate could present his/her issues of choice within that framework, in their own way.
By this means, the Democrats can draw a clear contrast between themselves and the Republicans, and can convey a coherence of purpose.
Questions About Its Use
1) How widespread in the culture is that resonance of “Truth, Justice and the American Way”?
For me, born in 1946, that phrase is definitely well-rooted in my mind. But I wasn’t sure how true that would be of a younger generation, so I did an informal survey of the younger people I know, and — though it is questionable how typical those particular Y generation and millennial people are — the results were encouraging.
2) Is “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” copyrighted in some way, or is it free for anyone to pick out of the culture?
The Superman character is copyrighted, but I found no evidence of anything concerning such language. I consulted a friend of mine who is an expert on intellectual property law about that question. He was uncertain whether there would be an issue. Nonetheless, he was all in favor of going for it.
NOTE: Here’s that introductory beginning of the old Superman shows:
Narrator: Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
Man 1: Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird.
Woman: It’s a plane
Man 2: It’s Superman!
Narrator: Yes, it’s Superman, strange visitor from another planet who came to earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands. And who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never ending battle for truth, justice and the American way. And now another exciting episode in the adventures of Superman.