Thursday, October 25, 2012
Slogans are particularly popular in the political world. They date back into our history when men still rode horses to get around and women waited at home sewing,knitting, and minding the wee ones.
"Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" has always been one of my favorites. It first crossed my radar as a historical fact I had to memorize for a history quiz or test. This election slogan referenced William Henry Harrison as Tippecanoe and his running mate and soon to be successor, John Tyler. Seems ole Will rose to some distinction during the Indian wars of the early 1800s in the then North West Territories. These territories would later become Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, what we now call the Rust Belt, the Heartland, Fly over country. Tippecanoe refers to a specific battle in which the good and noble White Man claimed victory. Depending on which revisionist historical record you read, the victory was a nominal one at best. Still, ole Will would be able to cash in on this battle and his average to below average efforts as a military man to capture the White House.
My interest in the slogans of politics was sparked by the slogans of our current election. "We Built This" was and still is about the dumbest slogan I have seen in a long time. Obama's "Forward" is not much better. But at least it offers a direction and not some unsubstantiated subliminal claim that Republicans are responsible for what we have.
Anyway, I found this site that has all of the Presidential slogans used by the winners and losers since I guess they started keeping track. Apparently William Harrison started it all with "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too". I looked them over and some were quite catchy. "Keep Cool with Coolidge", "I Like Ike", and who could forget Warren G Harding's famous slogan, "Cox and Cocktails". Guess it was one of those, "Had to be there" things to even have a clue what it meant.
Lincoln's slogans for his two terms were telling. His first run , he offered promises of free land with a beautiful idyllic farm planted right in the middle of it. "Vote Yourself a Farm" certainly left much up to the beholder, but it was definitely upbeat. Abe's slogan for his second term on the other hand was less a promise and more of request. "Don't Change Horse's in Mid-Stream" says it all about the reality that became Lincoln's tenure in office.
Lincoln's situation, while more serious and potentially nation destructing than what Obama faces today, would indicate that maybe O Man should have chosen a different slogan. "Hang On" seems so much more appropriate. Starting over with a new president after only giving the previous one one term is ill advised given the deep hole we carved out for ourselves.