The Rebranding of America

The Presidential campaign is over, but the campaign to restore America has just begun. People are the fabric of any democracy and the frayed narrative of our Union must be re-woven to include everyone.

Our origin myth needs to be scripted to emphasize the fact that we are a nation of immigrants. Whether our descendants wandered here thousands of years ago or were forced against their will due to slavery, religious intolerance, economic upheaval or war, we are all immigrants. Therefore, it is humane, necessary and essential to greet newcomers with kindness, empathy and compassion, rather than fear and hatred.

We must rewrite our foundational myths to be inclusive. And factual. Even a crew of mythic Western cowboys, for example, was a hybrid stew of Scotch-Irish, Hispanics, Blacks and the occasional female or Native American.

Another thing about immigrants. We forget that three of our largest corporations — Amazon, Apple and Google — were founded by the children of immigrants. These multinational corporations provide opportunity for hundreds of thousands of people and are a large part of our national psyche and value. It is worth a moment to wonder not only what our lives might be like without them, but also which parents and children of the future we may have turned away? What future opportunities have been lost?

We must celebrate our uniqueness — we are an independent nation with independent people of many creeds and colors. But we are also interdependent. We may not always feel this accord, but we need one another.

We believe in freedom and justice for all. However, this belief is not felt equally by all of our citizens. We are equal in ideology, but not equal in practice. This is our challenge. If there is an American Dream, it is to feel free and equal in a boundless nation.

We must put new substance and meaning behind the words “democracy,” “freedom for all,” “equality” and “social justice.” These have become clichés, and they do not have to be. We must expunge words intended to inspire hate and division. Those words include “fake news,” “far left,” “far right,” “radicals,” and more.

If we create words that divide us, we can also create words that bring us together. The 2000 U.S. Census declared that by 2025, Caucasians would become the minority and that other ethnicities (the so-called minorities) would become the majority.

Those days are upon us and we must starve out the political rhetoric and stereotypes intended to feed racism or hate on both sides.

We must remember (paraphrasing Dr. Martin Luther King) that we should not judge anyone by the color of their skin, but by the quality of their words and actions.

What are we against? We are against systemic racism and injustice, whether social or economic. We are tolerant of other religions and frown on religions that are intolerant of others. As a friend reminds me, devotion, nurturing and will are foundational keys to creating new unity.

The purpose of leaders is to make their populations feel safe. The former President worked tirelessly to divide us into camps of good and evil, strong and weak, privileged and working class, followers and radicals, successes and failures. Never before have we been reminded of our differences, while disregarding what makes us strong, unique and united.

This is where corporations and brands can actively make a difference. Learning about how our democracy works needs to be added to workshopping diversity, equity and inclusion. (We should feel some national embarrassment by the fact that we have been exporting democracy as a policy for the past 50 years, without necessarily practicing best methods here at home.)

Let’s remind ourselves that everyone belongs. Everyone counts. Everyone has a choice and everyone has a chance. These are the elements of the new narrative for these United States — some we have heard before, which makes them no less important. They bear repeating.

The rebranding of these United States starts now. Forward.




Author of “Primal Branding,” “The Social Code,” writer on Forbes, Inc., Adweek, and elsewhere. Founder + Thinktopia®

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Patrick Hanlon

Patrick Hanlon

Author of “Primal Branding,” “The Social Code,” writer on Forbes, Inc., Adweek, and elsewhere. Founder + Thinktopia®

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