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September 2, 2012

RNC Poaches “We are the 99%” and Alludes to Latinos in Desert as Road Kill in One Video

In the wake of the Wall Street backlash that unleashed a powerful wave of activist and creative energy this year,  it only makes sense that the conservatives would be looking to co-opt those themes and visual memes both to water them down and to try and siphon off a little of that populist indignation for itself. And voilà, welcome to “Bump in the Road.”

You probably had to be watching on C-SPAN to see it, but the Republican Convention presented an interesting video on Tuesday night. Blatantly appropriating the visual narrative of the grassroots Occupy Wall Street-related “We are the 99%” Tumblr blog, here we see lower and middle class Americans on an abandoned road in the desert somewhere holding up personalized (Romney) signs speaking to their dire economic straights. Cynically, the phrase “We’re not a bump in the road,” plays off a benign Obama speech line about “bumps in the road” to economic recovery. Lying down on the asphalt in the middle of an empty desert highway at the outset of the video, citizens stand and, holding up their sign, proclaim one after one: “I’m not a bump in the road.”)

Besides the clear lifting of the format, there’s also disturbing ethnic dimension to the symbolism. Given how the video disproportionally features Hispanics out there in the empty desert, perhaps the message is less about empathy than about the close connection here between GOP anti-immigrants policies and road kill.

RNC Video: Bump in the Road.

  • Stan B.

    So this is where they were hiding all the brown people that weren’t at the convention- or maybe, just maybe, these are the folks who couldn’t afford to work there at minimum wage while also having to pay for their own uniforms for the privilege.

  • Kailuahale

    All the signs look like they were written by the same person, fake personal messages. And, they all say “I’m an American” – that by now famously coded message that somehow our President is not, not really. More of the same. Kind of spooky/creepy feeling.

    • Thomas Gokey

      It might be a coded message that the President is not an American, but it cuts against the other messages that the GOP makes that latinos are not real Americans either and might be illegal immigrants.

  • black_dog_barking

    “Stands with Mitt” means you consider yourself one of Mitt’s posse, good enough to fetch Mitt a de-caf latté or pick up his dry cleaning but definitely a subordinate. You see, in his demeanor and with every word from his mouth Willard stands by himself, better than the rest of us. Vote Republican, 2012. I’m Mitt Romney’s inner self and I approve this message.

  • Thomas Gokey

    I’m very curious to know if these were actors paid to pose with a sign or if these were genuine stories. If these are actors it would be pretty powerful to interview them, find out what their political views are, and post them to YouTube.

    Reminds me of when Law & Order recreated the Zuccotti encampment as a set, only to have the occupiers learn about it and occupied the set.

  • lq

    Remember from 2004? I just hope we don’t have to do that again. Scary what the Republicans do with their PR/media pollution.

  • BlueShark

    “Here Chica … Hold this sign, I give you two dollar!”


  • Marko99

    I believe the author means “economic straits”, a bad or trying situation.

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