These images come from Oliver Willis' Brand Democrat. When asked by people such as some of my students "What do Democrats stand for?" I invariably end up talking about what I stand for, but to be honest I don't think that the Democrat party itself really makes much of an effort to articulate a stance in a form that would make sense to anyone outside of a few wonks. That's clearly unsatisfactory, and I suspect that the party's failure to do so is one reason I end up identifying myself as a liberal independent rather than as a partisan Democrat (there are other reasons, but that one stands out at the moment).
So what is the story these pictures tell? What kind of message are they framing? Here's what I'm seeing:
- Freedom - defined by a liberal freedom ends up meaning privacy (freedom from the prying eyes of the government) and choice (freedom to conduct one's life as one sees fit). Freedom in this sense is a core liberal value.
- Tolerance - goes along with freedom as defined above. Acceptance of others regardless of religion, ethnicity, etc. is another core liberal value.
- Responsibility - this includes society's responsibility to care for those most in need, a responsibility to avoid passing on financial burdens to the next generation, a responsibility for the well-being of others internationally as well. It boils down to the golden rule: "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." It's a core value of numerous religious traditions, and a core value held by liberals of all religious persuasions.
Right now on the fly I can hone in on three core values shared by liberals and that could easily - and straightforwardly - be articulated by the Democrat party. The party's job then would be to:
- articulate those core values
- demonstrate how their proposed policies flow from those core values
The survival of the Democrats as a viable entity likely hangs on whether they can accompish this task. Oliver Willis also has an open thread if you would like to share some of your ideas regarding "Brand Democrat."