Spoken word artist Taylor Mali’s poem, “I’ll Fight You For The Library” is a battle-in-four-letters between a veteran teacher and an administrator over whether the school’s library will be available for the teacher’s students to conduct research for an assignment…or whether it will be used for a “Facilities Utilization” committee meeting.
It came to mind when I saw this (brutal, devastating) ad from the Obama campaign about Mitt Romney’s business career and personal finances.
For those who can’t watch the video, it takes as its “soundtrack” Romney singing a verse of “America the Beautiful” during a January campaign stop at a retirement community in Florida. This was a regular feature of Romney’s campaign appearances earlier this year, and he’d often connect the lyrics to the state in which he was speaking—”amber waves of grain” for Iowa and Missouri, “purple mountain majesties” for New Hampshire and Colorado, etc.
In doing so, Romney was not only displaying his patriotic bona fides, he was also implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) making the case that many Republicans and conservatives have made against Barack Obama: that he doesn’t really love America, and that he’s not really, fully American. Often this is tied to rhetoric about “taking back” or “restoring” our country, with the implication that the current occupant of the White House somehow doesn’t legitimately belong there.
The Obama campaign ad marries Romney’s unaccompanied singing of “America the Beautiful” with a plain series of statements (and accompanying images):