BY CHRISTIAN SARKAR and PHILIP KOTLER
In our work on cultural narratives, we’ve proposed that cultural narratives create meaning for our place in the world, and provide a map for the journey ahead. The structure of a cultural narrative can be diagrammed as follows:
In politics, the structure of a cultural narrative becomes an ideological framework for living and thinking about the world.
With the case of Trump and Biden, we see a struggle between two narratives: “MAGA” vs the “American Dream.”
Trump’s MAGA narrative can be diagrammed as follows:
The press, of course, cannot bring itself to see this, because to do so would require acknowledgement of their complicity with the existing system. So they condemn specific incidents of hate or fear, but never connect the dots.
Biden’s American Dream narrative was the original myth of the USA. It is the old story we learned in our textbooks – of the Statue of Liberty and the immigrants who came to this country to create a better life for themselves and their progeny:
Here’s the problem. While it is still a view that many hold dear, the American Dream lies in tatters because of staggering inequality and the lack of opportunities of upward mobility. The middle class is shrinking, and everywhere citizens feel the threat of rising unemployment and poverty. COVID has accelerated the crises.
Trump can fool some of the people all of the time. White supremacists are infiltrating protest groups to incite and cause violence. Trump yells “Law and Order” even while he incites violence. It’s time for our citizens to demand better.
Will Biden be able to bring back the American Dream? He must acknowledge the mistakes of neoliberalism and globalization and renew the American Dream.
The challenge: get government to work for its citizens again.
Is that a third narrative?