Fixation on the always distant future means never having to say you're sorry for destroying the present.
The Obama slogan for 2012 is in and it's "Forward.” The left has always been enamored of "Forwardism" or "Progressivism" which mean much the same thing. Before MSNBC had "Lean Forward," Mao had the Great Leap Forward, which killed some 40 million people, far more people than MSNBC can ever dream of tuning in to their programs.
When Lenin wanted to launch his own newspaper, he called it, "Vperod" or "Forward." The name has popped up on the mastheads of left-wing newspapers across the world. It's "Vorwarts" in Germany, "Voorwarts" in the Netherlands and "Ila al-Amam" in the Arab world. Back in New York it's "The Forward."
There are any number of left-wing political parties who have named themselves "Forward", including the Forward Communist Party of India, Kadima, the left-wing opposition party in Israel, and Vperod, a Russian political party that split off from the Socialist Resistance on account of the latter not being radical enough.
Picking "Forward" as his campaign slogan puts Obama in good company with Lenin and Mao, and it sounds positive until you stop and realize that it's meant more as an order than a suggestion. There's a reason leftist newspapers with that name add an exclamation mark at the end of it. It's not a proposal, it's a command. Lean forward, march forward, live forward and then die forward. We've burned the bridges, run up the deficit and trashed the economy so there's no going back.
An old Soviet era joke told the story of the wife of a Communist leader who upon hearing that her husband had developed a progressive paralysis, clapped her hands and exclaimed that at least it was progressive. That is the underlying message of "Forward" to voters: the country may be paralyzed, but at least it's a progressive paralysis which leaves us unable to move our heads and stop leaning forward.
That may be why it remains a popular campaign slogan among desperate left of center candidates. When Adlai Stevenson, dean of the liberal eggheads, ran in 1952, the campaign buttons read, "Forward with Stevenson." The country chose to go backward instead with Eisenhower winning by a landslide.
Tony Blair ran for his third term with the slogan, "Britain, forward, not back," which despite its clumsiness did conclusively explain that "Forward" as a campaign slogan means there's no going back. However Blair forgot to tell voters that this referred to his immigration policy which helped create Broken Britain.
In this forward-looking Britain, the police are being trained to look for signs of sorcery among immigrants after children have been murdered on suspicion that they might be witches. The last woman to be executed on witchcraft charges in the area was back in 1727, but now the UK is back in the witch hunting business or the hunting witchhunters business as the case may be. That's not to mention the Islamic female genital mutilation business, which is also booming as part of Britain's forward march into the 7th century.
Had Blair been a touch more honest, the slogan would have been, "Britain, so forward, it's backward." Much like having a mind so open your brains fall out, that is one of the dangers of being so forward, going so far ahead you end up in the desert praising absolute monarchies and slave states as beacons of freedom and democracy, while your police hunt witchhunters and the mutilators of little girls in your own cities.
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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