Former Vice President Joe Biden has officially come out with his campaign slogan. In a direct response to Trump’s Make America Great Again, Uncle (or perhaps Grandpa might be more appropriate) Joe has announced his campaign slogan: Make America Moral Again. Sigh. I want to break Uncle Joe’s campaign slogan down and try and get at whatever it claims its substance is.
The Slogan in Its Full Context
Mr. Biden appeared on Good Morning America, alongside his wife, Jill. The interviewer asked him if he had a campaign slogan. He replied with Make America Moral Again, and then proceeded to define it in these terms, taken from the Washington Examiner
‘Make America return to the essence of who we are, the dignity of the country, the dignity and treating our people with dignity and this God-awful deliberate division that’s being taken in order to separate people to aggrandize his own power’
Spoken with a most deliberate soft voice and slow cadence, Biden’s words ring every bit as hollow as Trump’s vacuous crap about making America great again. Say what you will about MAGA and its emptiness, humans at their core would, I think, rather be great than moral. So Trump is appealing to something that resonates at a visceral level. Morality is also a subjective term. It means different thing to different people. This allows voters, much like they did with Trump, to read what they want into Joe’s candidacy. This gives Biden the freedom to do what he wants (or more accurately what he is told) and the people have no recourse. He never said he would do Medicare4All, living wage etc. The electorate projected that onto him. Such is the freedom of empty campaign slogans.
The Essence of Who We Are
To parse his words in the quote above, a return to the essence of who we are, Mr. Biden? Would that be a nation founded on liberty that maintained slavery, and indeed had to fight a civil war to get rid of it? A nation which, since the end of world war two, has invaded dozens of countries, some multiple times, in order to install dictators and establish or defend corporate interests? Would that be a nation that supports Israel and Saudi Arabia despite their legion crimes against humanity? Would that be a nation that has 1% of the world’s prison population and maintains for-profit prisons? The essence of who we are, no matter how soft a voice you use, is a nation with myriad flaws and gallons of blood on its hands. I would drop the moral argument, Sir, you will lose it!
The Breakdown, Part One: Meaning
Joe’s campaign slogan, much like the Trump slogan it is responding to, is devoid of meaning. Now, you might argue that all campaign slogans are devoid of meaning, and there is a degree of truth to this. However, Joe has chosen a particularly bad version of the substance-free campaign slogan.
Make America Moral Again. Some questions, Mr. Vice President
- What does it mean to be ‘moral’? Moral in what way? Joining the rest of the civilised world in creating a universal healthcare system for your citizens? Getting out of unnecessary, unproductive and prohibitively expensive wars and reinvesting that money at home?
- Make America Moral Again? Analogous to Trump’s claim of making America Great, I must ask when America was moral, exactly? I outlined a brief description of America’s many flaws above, so when was America moral? Every nation has its flaws, so the evidence often lays waste any claim of moral superiority.
- The personal targeting of Trump as the problem is another aspect of this slogan that I must address. The suggestion is that things went downhill (or fell off a cliff) once Trump came to power. No. The Republican Party has been the problem for years (if not decades). Trump is, as I said in a previous post, simply the id of the Party. Even if you get rid of Trump, the party of racism, plutocracy and war remains in place. Trump is not the problem here; he is a result of the symptoms that brought him to power. Even if you want to argue that Trump has made things worse, there had to be something to make worse. Trump is not the problem.
The Breakdown, Part Two: Optics
There are two chief criticisms of Uncle Joe’s Make America Moral Again that immediately come to mind.
The first is the fact that the slogan is clearly derivative, or perhaps even a rip-off, of Trump’s Make America Great Again. A cheap knockoff is never as good as the original. MAGA, for all its flaws and the cultural supremacy it implied, was an effective slogan. It worked, because greatness as a topic makes people take notice.
The second criticism is the unfortunate acronym that is attached to Make America Moral Again: MAMA (mumma). Could there be anything more profoundly corporate Democrat in its nature and structure than this slogan? Nothing is going to make conservatives say ‘soy boy’ and call Democrats weak than a slogan that can be vocalised as ‘mumma’. This campaign slogan was clearly not thought through. Corporatism to the core. Pathetic, weak, defeatist.
Conclusion: What it Really Means
Far be it from me to attempt to actually read the minds of the corporate establishment (or anyone else for that matter), but I do think I know what this campaign slogan is designed to convey, and who the intended audience is.
The intended audience is the corporations and the elite, and the message is that the veneer of civility will be re-established, as the country continues to be governed in corporate interests. Biden, Hillary and the rest of the corporate cronies agree with Trump on the policy, and so the criticism is centred on dividing the nation and the racial issues (see my previous article about Safe Topics). What they hate about Trump is the fact that he ripped the mask off. They despise the fact that he is ‘uncivilised’; in short? They hate the mean tweets.
What Joe Biden’s Make America Moral Again really means is ‘we will be civilised and polite as we allow corporations and the elite to loot the treasury and take all the benefits for themselves and screw over the people.’
One word for you Joe
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