I was interested to come across a slogan from an American politician, Robert Bowman. It read Take Back America!. It reminded me of the DA’s slogan in Cape Town, Take Back Your City!.
I’m ambivalent to negative about the slogan. The slogan implies that there’s an us and a them, and the them have taken the city/country away from the us.
The way the DA used it in Cape Town seemed to me highly divisive. The them was the ANC. Unfortunately, it also read as the blacks, and the DA was being naive if it couldn’t realise this. Of course the slogan was surely rather meant as a call to action for its loyal supporters after the ANC gained control of the city during the floor crossing session, rather than an attempt to win new supporters. To many who aren’t its supporters it came across as racist. To neutrals, a DA-led city no more represents them than an ANC-led city. The ANC got more support in the previous local government election than the DA, but the DA’s slogan expressly excludes anyone who voted for the ANC the last time around.
So over to Bowman’s usage. Bowman is a member of Scholars for 911 truth, and believes that the main suspect in the 911 attacks is Dick Cheney. The us in his case is meant to be ordinary Americans, and the them the corporate elite now running everything. With more Americans than ever questioning what’s happening, Bush’s approval ratings at an all-time low, and Bowman claiming to be a Christian (the religious right are perhaps the one remaining demographic still holding onto their support for Bush in any quantity), his message is perhaps less exclusive, but its still likely to alienate people who voted for Bush last time around.
While politics continues to play the us and them game, to focus on the negative, the chances of anything positive coming out are low.