Friday, January 23, 2009

What My Sign Means

Here's the picture from Twitpic of me holding my homemade sign on Inauguration Day:

The photo was taken by a Twitter user who goes by infernoenigma.  

He posted it on Twitpic on Wednesday.  

From there it was put on Digg by bianconeri4ever.

As of 7:03 pm EST today, the picutre has been viewed over 160,000 times, "Digg'd" over 3,800 times, and received over 700 comments on Digg.

It's been cool to see the response from people around the world, including American expats.

On Twitpic... 

montpetitviolon writes:

This is great! :-) Love, Italy!

Netzreisender writes:

yeah - welcome back! love, germany

armoty writes:

I think we'll love America again, Egypt

fireashes writes:

We love you back.

On Digg... 

Nboy514 writes:

Dear USA, Welcome Back. Love Canada

Raphae1 writes:

Dear USA, Welcome Back. Love Austria

superandreas writes:

Dear USA. This brings not only hope to your nation, but to nations worldwide. together we can CHANGE to the better! Love from Norway

What My Sign Does Not Mean 

Now, before we get carried away, there have been plenty of good critical comment about this sign.  (You can sample them on the Digg page.)  These comments deserve a response, because they raise important caveats.  

I am a lot of things, but a mindless flag-waiver is not one of them.

"Dear World, We're Back! Love, U.S.A." does not mean that everything is better now, everything is fixed, no need for reform, no need for progressivism, end of story.

It does not mean that all the people of the world look only to America for sustenance and guidance.

It does not mean that America has committed atrocities only under the Bush Administration.

It does not mean that world "popularity" should be America's chief concern.

It does not mean that everything good about America ceased to exist during the Bush Era.

It does not mean a lot of silly things.  

What My Sign Does Mean

If you don't understand that the inauguration of President Barack Obama--and the grassroots movement and electoral rout that made it possible--signals the restoration of some good things about America and the beginning of a restoration of other things, then you haven't been paying attention. You haven't been paying attention to the lies and crimes of Bush Republicanism and modern conservative philosophy. You haven't been paying attention to the growing tide of opposition to those lies and crimes. And you haven't paid attention to history and seen that sometimes there are indeed turning points in history, when people decide that they are sick of being pushed down again and again. We are living in one of those times.

I wrote in my previous post about what a longer version of my sign might have said. It's worth repeating here:

(This has now been amended slightly, per an insightful comment by ActivistGuy from Daily Kos.)

America is undergoing a restoration and reclamation. We are restoring government so that it works for us instead of against us. We humbly seek to earn a position of moral authority and honorable leadership in the world. We want the people of the world to know that we hear them. We want them to know that we as a people are better than these last eight years, that our government has not represented us. Our government has been a vicious and alien thing sitting on top of us instead of a compassionate and democratic thing rising up from us. We're putting those disgraceful years behind us, and we're going to set things right. We're moving forward. We're back.

If you think this is a message the world should hear, let's digg, tweet, and forward it to them.

You can Digg it HERE.  You can view it on Twitpic HERE.  You can share your comments BELOW.


Amy said...

Wow. These internets sure are an amazing thing.

Great clarification. I love me some constructive criticism, and think it's helpful to assimilate. But I will also say that *ahem* some people just like to rain on one's parade (or inauguration, in this case). I mean geez, you can't put a whole policy statement on a poster, can you? Chillax, people!

Nate Meyer said...

Crazy Dave, but I'm glad to see you're back in the blogging world (I found your email from... November? in my Gmail just now ;-).

Eric said...

Dave, I've been asked to write an article about my experience at the inauguration, focusing on my picture, for my local newspaper. Care to be interviewed? If you could send me an email, or give me your email address so I can send you some quick questions, that'd be great.

Eric [infernoenigma]

Better Than Machines said...

Eric, that sounds cool. You can email me at betterthanmachines at gmail dot com and I'd be happy to answer questions.

Eric said...


Questions sent. I also included a little explanation of how I came to be standing in front of you taking that picture, and how it touched me. Thanks,


Anonymous said...

Psst...I updated the credit per your request here

Jen said...

Would you mind if I shared your "What My Sign Means" photo and article on my blog? It's awesome. Seriously, when I first saw your sign, my reaction was AMEN, Brother!


Better Than Machines said...

Jen, Feel free to quote this article and share the picture. I'm glad to see it resonate with people.

Jen said...

Awesome! Thank you so much. I appreciate it! :)