Liberals suck at slogans
So much for being the creative class. And give me some of that sweet FreedomCare™.
If we lean into one of the stereotypes of liberals, they are, supposedly, the creative class - the artists and makers and creative types that fashion culture and language.
Okay, but man, liberals suck at slogans.
Let’s start with Pres. Biden’s signature campaign promise and social program legislation in Congress - "Build Back Better".
Build Back Better? Come on, man. At the simplest, compare "better" vs. "great", as in Make America Great Again. It’s no competition.
The same goes for the shorthand for the infrastructure package currently in Congress - the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, or BIF. Framework? BIF?🤦🏼♂️ Seriously, who comes up with this stuff?
"Defund the police" has been a loser slogan for quite some time now and, in fact, is backfiring.
And now it has even failed a test at the polls.
Black Lives Matter is closer to being a solid slogan, but it really at some point needed to add "too", as in Black Lives Matter, Too. A group I became familiar with in Singapore that fights for the rights of immigrant workers uses this structure - Transient Workers Count, Too. BLM by itself leaves the field open for the backlash slogan "All Lives Matter" - which, of course, if we think about it, is what progressives really want in the end.
Turning to the media, the Washington Post adopted a tagline of "Democracy Dies in Darkness" early in the Trump administration.
It comes off as sanctimonious and self-important. (And it’s sort of creepy.) The WaPo would argue it's not a liberal outlet, though, of course.
Oh, and back BBB (Build, Back, Better, in case you forgot), during the summer advocates were using the phrase "human infrastructure" to describe the plan's purpose. Seriously? Never mind that it was definitely a definitional stretch, I'm pretty sure that almost nobody thinks of the things they do in daily life, like child care and higher education, as "infrastructure".
But maybe the worst offense is completely ceding the concept and language of FREEDOM to conservatives. "Freedom" is the keyword of American culture and politics. Hell, "free" the highpoint of the national anthem! Sure, liberals want equality. We can't give up on that. But in the end, we want equality of FREEDOM, broadly understood. It's crazy to leave this concept on the shelf.
In a future post I’ll dive deeper into how we can adapt the concept of freedom to liberal and progressive goals and priorities, but here’s one quick sample - health insurance. Are you truly free if you can’t get medical care when you need it? Are you truly free if you are eventually forced to declare bankruptcy just to get needed medical care? Of course not. No one chooses to get sick, but everyone does eventually. We can enhance human freedom by mitigating this restriction on our bodily and financial lives.
In the US, we need FreedomCare™.