These are the “word clouds” of President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention and Governor Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. These images represent the words they emphasized in stating their vision for the nation’s future. Each reflects not only the difference between the candidates but the difference in what has now become Blue and Red America. President Obama’s speech looked at the wide range of issues facing a nation in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. It is not surprising that the key word in his speech is “new”. President Obama has made the case that we must address challenges we face in health care, alternative energy use, job creation and nothing short of restoring hope in the nation’s future.
Governor Romney’s speech centered on the words “America”, “Americans”, “American”, and “President”. For some the image drawn from this speech is one of fierce patriotism and loyalty to the nation. I was not inspired, however. Each time he referred to Americans I kept seeing the faces of the people at the convention who were cheering him on and I did not see a whole lot of people like me. When Governor Romney said, “Now is the time to restore the promise of America”, I had to ask which America he wants to restore. My view of America today is that it is finally getting to a place where the promise of opportunity has reached the diverse communities of color that make up the nation.
Is America a code word here for the GOP? I think so. The America that the GOP seeks is a trip down memory lane when women and minorities were less visible in society and certainly less outspoken. It’s an America that lets 1% of the population have their way with few restrictions. It’s an America that didn’t need to worry about partisan politics because the work of protecting special interests was easier to hide without the transparency that new media has brought to us today. It’s an America that was comfortable keeping gays and lesbians in the closet where they didn’t need to be heard or seen.
Governor Romney, what America are you talking about?