Folding The Roadmap To Peace

Administrative origami in political rhetoric…

Occasionally, the press and president agree on a metaphor precedent. Some buzz word or description that everyone can have a field day with. Most of us remember Reagan’s “trickle-down economics”, which presented a money-as-water image, and dominated the news for quite some time. The press love easy headlines.

In recent years, President Bush garnered support for war with the “roadmap to peace” metaphor, which roughly equates military movements to a casual trip with Mom and Dad. The travel spends lives instead of gas, and seizes terrain rather than traverses it. “Forward” is in the direction of the driver’s will, and casualties are the bumps on life’s road.

Somewhere, it seems, a wrong turn was made. Dad, now flustered and his family now in need of a rest stop, will not admit to being lost. The map can’t be wrong because its a map: navigator’s scripture. And Dad will not ask for directions. Instead he will try driving around, hitting more bumps, and taking a few more wrong turns.

As Bush’s support for his handling of the Iraq war began to diminish, the use of the phrase “roadmap to peace” was all but abandoned by the press. The roadmap was folded and put away. Our sense of direction and purpose was lost.

With that sense of direction was lost an entire metaphor system. Roads, destinations and maps. We would no longer “arrive” at a constitution “on schedule”. Once stowaways aboard the president’s train of rhetoric, each reporter is now stranded in underpopulated land of creativity. They have to make something catchy the hard way.

It’ll be interesting to see what evolves from here. Will Dad try to bring the roadmap out for another spin? Or will he unfold a new, apparently more fitting metaphor, such as the “exploration and discovery” system?

One thing for sure – Dad’s not about to stop this car.

Leave a Reply