Friday, October 31, 2008

Us vs. Them

I've mused frequently on a topic which again came to mind this morning, so I thought I'd ask you all, dear readers, what your thoughts on the topic might be.  This is the topic about the styles of communication of representatives of the two major political parties in the United States.  The differences are stark, in my opinion, but at the same time somewhat subtle; the messages are certainly used to generate support in their respective "bases", but the fact is that those messages are in fact quite different.

Media attention has been put on the fact that John McCain, currently running for president, is "on the offensive."  He is striking out at his opponent, Barack Obama, and looking for negative things to say about Mr. Obama, his beliefs, and his alleged policies were he to be elected President.  McCain points out that Obama intends to raise taxes on the wealthiest of Americans, with the underlying implication that if one day any of the rest of us become wealthy, we wouldn't want those taxes.  Sarah Palin, McCain's vice-presidential running mate, has explicitly distinguished "Real Americans" from whoever those rest of us are.

Meanwhile, Obama, running on a platform of "change," is doing all that he can to bring the people together.  One could say that it's because he's in the lead; he doesn't need to sling mud at McCain and Palin because he has nothing to fear, but if we look back at previous Presidential campaigns we find this pattern repeated.  Indeed, it occurs outside of Presidential elections too: George W. Bush is famous for saying to the American public, "if you're not with us, you're against us" after the terror attacks on September 11, 2001.

So, is it just a matter of fact that the Republicans divine their power from dividing the population and the Democrats work to unify, or is this just a lame matter of perception because of the media I choose to consume?

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