Who remembers this 1984 election ad for Ronald Reagan?
Even though every quote in the ad was an out-and-out lie, the ad still worked and Reagan became president. According to Jeffrey Feldman of the Huffington Post:
Legendary ad man Bill Hillsman explain[s] why that ad worked. After seeing it, Hillsman said, Americans everywhere would get a warm, familiar, and comforting feeling — the kind of feeling that small babies get after they’ve just wet their diaper. It was a feeling that lasted for only a minute, and when it was over, you wanted it to happen again.
It was a funny description, but it was spot on. Hillsman’s point was simple. Sure the ad lied, but it was the lies that made it work — and it was not the ‘truth’ that could have beat it. What made that ad work was the way it made Americans see and feel something ‘familiar,’ ‘comfortable,’ ‘warm.’
The Republicans are currently doing the same thing: they are rewriting the American story to reflect something that simply isn’t true, but appeals to our deepest desires of what we so desperately want it to be. We want to believe. But the reality is that in order to achieve our dreams, we have to face our reality. And the reality right now is that things are not good. Not here, not abroad. Not culturally, not economically, not socially. We are in a dire place and we need to redirect ourselves, our country. To continue on the current path, which is what McCain is offering, is to live a dream that is actually a nightmare. The Economy is not okay, as McCain would have you believe. We are not safer today than we were 7 years ago. The unemployment rate is not stable. Most Americans do not have health coverage. Our standing in the world is not one of respect, but of fear and ridicule. We are not the America we once were, and we’re certainly not the America we long to be. I can’t say that Obama will take us there, but he is currently the only one expressing an interest in doing so.