Feb 9: Life

The Toolbox states that “life–whatever that may be, mean, or do in a particular context –is always inexorably subject to external practices of power,” (213). In the recent U.S. presidential elections the slogan “make America great again,” was used by the Trump campaign. How did the social power of this slogan appeal to your life? How do you think it appealed to the “life” of other Americans that may or may not support it?

5 thoughts on “Feb 9: Life

  1. Being raised in a conservative household, I was taught at a very young age that America used to be so incredible and we should go back to that way of “life” in order to be a cohesive country again. I mean it was obviously great for the majority, being that they were white and upper middle class men, but the oppressed have a completely different view of how “great” america was. I became aware that, being a part of the LGBT community, my “life” could be affected greatly during his presidency. That made me really think about how it must affect others that don’t happen to be a majority. For example, the women’s march that took place the Saturday after inauguration brought attention to all the people that could experience more hate crimes, discrimination, and more inequality. On page 220 in the Theory Toolbox that author states, ” Prevailing modes and practices of power have changed, rapidly and all around us, from a dominant disciplinary mode to a dominant mode of biopower; but it may be that our sense of what might resist power has become antiquated as well”. This relates to the Trump campaign because the people who felt as if their “lives” were in jeopardy decided to protest in order to show who all could be affected by this presidency if he actually accomplishes to “make America great again”.

  2. When I first heard President Trump’s slogan “make America great again”, it made me question a lot of what I thought I understood about how Americans viewed our country. I didn’t understand the need to make American great again because I thought the whole experimental process of American growth was just to make our country better but not because it had deflated somewhere in the past years. However, I can see how this slogan rallied many people to stand behind Trump. It was a bold call that was explicitly directed toward voters who want to see drastic change in our country. On the other hand, I can see how it would offend people who believe that while our country has a lot of work to do that does not mean it isn’t great. On page 213 of “The Theory Toolbox”, the authors ask “what else are the hot political fights in the United States over health care, abortion, assisted suicide, gay marriage, or the death penalty if they’re not fights about life and the proper or improper ways on understanding or protecting it”? No matter what these fights are about, it was Trump’s on issues like these that got people to support the Trump campaign. Similarly that is also what his slogan did as well. It conjured up attitudes and beliefs in people that made them question what they think is wrong with America and if we really need to make it great again.

  3. The beauty behind trumps slogan was it was the most vague thing imaginable. It still feels like it came out of an online campaign slogan generator “make (blank) (blank) again. Everyone who heard” make America great again” brought with then their own meaning of America and great as well as the implication that it wasn’t great anymore. As a slogan it’s designed to appeal to everyone because of course it is, it just happened to appeal most to the people who felt their way of life was threatened by a vague threat and rallied behind it. It’s really not that different than the Che guvera-y change posters Obama had, it was the rest of trumps platform that informed the exact meaning of that slogan and became at once a rally cry, a point of mockery, and something that ended up dividing people in the way that makes people say “we just don’t agree with your interpretation of the words ‘America’ or ‘great’.

  4. With this quote from page 213 of “The Theory Toolbox” in mind, I feel that the slogan “Make America Great Again” and its social power appealed to my life through the response it evoked in more conservative and financially unstable communities. Looking at only the phrase itself, it promotes the “almighty” and “powerful” that I believe the country is typically known for internationally; as, American is usually viewed as a “protector” due to the Nation’s aid of counties that are thought to be in need or under an “unjust” dictatorship. I agree with Logan that with the slogan there is the assumption that America was great for every individual at one point in time, and that is untrue. I feel that using this rhetoric, the slogan appealed to American’s that support the phrase. This notion relates to the toolbox’s chapter on Ideology and “natural facts” that are false or are difficult to attain. In connection to a theme from the section of life, biopower, the authors share, ” a kind of odd “always and everywhere” concept…tends to fall under the rubric of “ideology.” But if life has become a kind of dominant ideology, the discourse surrounding it is not ideological in that it’s merely false because life in fact has become a political issue…” (213-4). For those who do not support the slogan, I believe they interpreted the phrase and found this flaw within it.

  5. Surprisingly, as a minority, Trump’s ideas for “making america great again,” didn’t (or haven’t) really affected me. His ideas definitely didn’t aid me or work in my benefit either though. Nevertheless, I was still able to empathize with others who were being effected during his campaign, and now during his presidency. I didn’t like what his slogan stood for because I feel like he used a lot of sexist and racist rhetoric to back it. His ideas are very exclusive and only pertain to a certain type of American. Naturally, he only really appealed to a certain type of American, because they are really the only one benefiting from it. Page 214 says, “Nearly everywhere you look these days (advertising, politics, art, education), there is an appeal to thing called life- making life better enjoying it more.” Under trump’s new presidency, this is true for only a certain category of people. A lot of people’s lives wont be bettered by his policies, they’re lives will be worsened. I think that’s whats important.

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