After various attempts at a pithy campaign slogan/theme, John Kerry's seems to think he's found one: "Let America be America again." And he's been eager to show off this slogan at various campaign stops. He should stop -- this slogan is retarded.
By hitting the nostalgia buttons, Kerry evidently aims to associate himself with some kind of pastoral, idealized America. Tim Noah thinks the whole nostalgia idea is bollocks to begin with. But beyond the problems Noah identified, the most glaring flaw in Kerry's slogan, which was ripped from a Langston Hughes poem, is its bizarrely passive stance on electoral change. The operative verb here is the notoriously passive "let", which has the effect of being oddly disempowering. Compare Kerry's slogan to something like Dean's "You have the power" exhortation. Dean wants us to take America back, snatch from the hands of the evil Bush empire. Kerry, on the other hand, apparently wants us to just chill, man.
Just let America be America, dudes, and everything will turn out sweet, Kerry's campaign seems to be suggesting.
One word: lame. Time to dump this line, JFK, and come up with something a bit more, I dunno, empowering?