Convention Slogans Face Off: ‘Forward Not Back’ vs. ‘We Built It’

COMMENTARY | CHARLOTTE, N.C. — So seldom do three little words serve to represent a political campaign on a grander scale. But at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, one simple slogan — “We Built It” — began on the first day and snowballed into something much larger as the convention progressed.

On the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, one new slogan was used at convention speeches; the audience would chant the slogan when speakers would cue them:

“Forward not back,” they would say in unison.

One slogan represents the progressive attitude that their party is trying to convey. The other is based on a complete misinterpretation of a speech from earlier this year. But how do these two slogans compare side by side?


Why ‘Forward Not Back’ is the ideal slogan for the Democratic Party

By its very definition, liberal values represent a sense of progress, whether their party represents that or not. There is eagerness in being innovative and ahead of the political curve. “Forward Not Back” is successful about both boasting their willingness to rock the boat as well as a slight insult to their opponents who they perceive as unwilling to adapt to social and economic change.

It kills two birds with one stone, and quite effectively.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley made the most use out of the phrase when he gave a speech at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte on Tuesday. All of the ways that the slogan was meant to apply to was summed up in one short segment:

“With 29 months in a row of private sector job growth, President Obama is moving America forward, not back,” he said. “By making college more affordable for millions of middle-class families, President Obama is moving America forward, not back! By securing the guarantee of Medicare for our seniors, President Obama is moving America forward, not back!

“By putting forward a concrete plan to cut waste, ask those at the top to pay a little more, and reduce our deficit, President Obama is moving America forward, not back! And by adding American manufacturing jobs for the first time since the late 1990s, President Obama is moving America forward, not back!”


Why ‘We Built It’ was a misguided failure based out of context

This slogan is still baffling to anyone who took the two minutes worth of research to find that the quote that this slogan was based on was completely taken out of context.

It was taken from this passage that Obama said earlier this year in Virginia, “If you’ve got a business–you didn’t build that.”

Pretty harsh words unless you read or listen to the complete speech. In the complete speech, you’ll find that what he was really referring to was American roads, bridges and everything else that makes small business possible to survive–not the business itself.

Republicans edited this quote with another quote from the same speech that made him sound like he was putting down business owners, created their own version of the phrase and ran with it. Soon enough the entire convention was plastered with their proud new tagline born of a lie.

If the Republican Party is looking for a new, three-word slogan that more accurately reflects some of their jabs to their opponents, I formally throw “Out of Context” into the ring.


This article was originally published on Yahoo! News through the Yahoo Contributor Network which was shut down in July 2014. For more content by this author that was originally published on Yahoo! News, click here