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In Australia, Julia Gillard rolled out “Moving Forward,” explaining that the slogan fit because Australians are an optimistic forward-looking people. Which they had to be as their country had suffered the worst economic decline in twenty years. When things are that bad, you might as well look forward and find something to be optimistic about.
The Grenadan Revolution had its own forward-thinking slogans like “Who Controls the Minds of the People Have the Power” and “Forward Ever, Backward Never.” Sadly the revolution ended up going backward when the reactionary running dog capitalists overthrew the Cuban-backed revolutionaries and robbed them of control over the minds of the people.
The Obama campaign has largely adopted both Grenadan slogans, but its control over the minds of the people may prove to be as tenuous as that of the People’s Revolutionary Army over Grenada. The backward view is surprisingly appealing even to Obama supporters who can’t help remembering that there used to be more jobs and more money before the Hope and Change revolution.
Romney might ask you if you are better off now than you were four years ago, but Obama will tell you to forget the past and look forward to the eternal future that is always peeking over the horizon. The mirage of the progressive world of tomorrow, which we can reach over a pile of dead senior citizens, energy saving lightbulbs and multicultural coloring books.
In Maryland, Governor Martin O’Malley, a liberal Democrat, turned a billion dollar surplus into a two billion dollar deficit, and then ran for reelection on what other slogan but, “Moving Maryland Forward.” The people of Maryland have moved on to what else but more billion dollar deficits. That is what you get when you move “Forward”: deficit spending today that will reap dividends in tomorrow’s utopias from officials who can’t be bothered with economics because they’re too busy looking forward to the future.
Progressives do not like looking backward in the rearview mirror. There are too many things there that they would rather not see, like the Great Leap Forward, the Gulags, the ghosts of Five Year Plans and a thousand failed ideologies and dead philosophies taunting them. Forwardism frees them from having to contemplate the unemployment figures or the deficit; there is no past, only the eternal future. Forget your troubles and groove to a new hopeful slogan that promises a better world tomorrow for a hamburger today.
Forwardistan is not some enigmatic place; it’s Lenin’s Russia, Mao’s China, O’Malley’s Maryland and Obama’s America. It’s what happens when you drive leaning forward, because maps and rear view mirrors are for backward-thinking people who lack the courage to take the great leap of faith forward into the economic dead zone of uncontrolled spending and crude control of the economy.
On college campuses, Obama stretches out his hand, urging students to take it and make that great leap forward with him into the future. That is what this election is really about and that is what this year will decide. Do we leap forward with him off the cliff or do we turn back and try to find a better way?
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