An interesting insight came to me from watching day almost two, or one, of the convention. The audience was holding signs that said “Country First.” As a Language Arts teacher I’m almost amazed at the ambiguity of those words. Granted the slogan “Change we can believe in” is just as ambiguous; I’m in no way pointing fingers or picking sides. Politicians love to use words to their advantage. No, scratch that, we all love to use words to our own advantage. And language is such a funny game at times. I wish more people would realize that, that it’s more than just reading words on a page, and that words are as unclear as they are clear. That one thing can mean many things to many people.
Country First…hmmm. Country in itself is so abstract. It’s made up of people. It couldn’t exist really without people. It couldn’t exist without a large group of people living in one determined area. It couldn’t exist without a group of people sharing the thought of “country,” an almost nationalistic thought of a place with stories and ideas somehow or other attached to this place and these people. And here in America there are such a wide variety of people, some of them coming from different countries, with different stories and different ideas.
Granted at this time of the year we only think there are two kinds of people, or maybe three, but there really is a wide variety of people with a wide variety of ideas about what the word “country” means.
So do they mean People First? If that’s what they mean, why didn’t they use those words? And if that’s not what they mean. Then what do they mean?