‘Forward’ — that frightening word
In the past, President Obama was criticized by Standard Political Pundits for supposedly failing to articulate his thinking on Health Reform, and other items on his agenda. They said he was overly complex; he was too remote; he didn’t offer cunning soundbites. Possibly this was the impetus for his committee’s choice of a new campaign slogan –the slogan is simply the word “FORWARD”. The one-word slogan has been ridiculed by Republicans, of course. “That’s the best he can come up with? How vague is that?” But it may well be that what really bothers them about the slogan is that it handily embodies the clear choice between a Republican Candidate and the DNC’s candidate, President Barack Obama.
The Republican message is consistently about a retreat, a withdrawal, a rejection of anything like progress. They’re opposed to a woman’s right to choose–which was something that had to be fought for. They’re opposed to widespread access to birth control; they’re opposed to unions, in general. The right to unionize came at the cost of broken heads, bullet wounds, lock outs, and a long legislative struggle. Republicans, setting up a new, disguised Jim Crow in the form of backward voter registration requirements, are constricting the right of minorities to vote. They’re regressing economically, moving back from the hard-fought right of ordinary people to thrive in a middle class. They’re for rolling back environmental regulations, and they’re for instituting a kind of tax structure that is little short of feudal.
So “Forward” scares them. Because if Obama is about forward, they’re about backwards. And they really don’t want you to think about that.
John Shirley is the author of numerous novels, story collections, screenplays (“THE CROW”), teleplays and articles. A futurologist and social critic, John was a featured speaker at TED-x in Brussels in 2011. His novels include Everything is Broken, The A SONG CALLED YOUTH cyberpunk trilogy (omnibus released in 2012), Bleak History, Demons, City Come A-Walkin’ and The Other End. His short story collection Black Butterflies won the Bram Stoker Award, and was chosen by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the best books of the year. His new story collection is In Extremis: The Most Extreme Short Stories of John Shirley. His stories have been included in three Year’s Best anthologies. He is also a songwriter (eg, for Blue Oyster Cult), and a singer. Black October records will soon be releasing a compilation of selected songs, BROKEN MIRROR GLASS: Recordings by John Shirley, 1978-2011. The authorized website is at john-shirley.com