The student blog for Drake University first year seminar entitled Visual Politics

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Russ Feingold’s TV ad “For Us” provides a model of citizenship based around the idea of nationalism and loyalty to the country, specifically to our veterans and how they have been ignored. The ad contains a series of veterans telling their stories of how Russ Feingold has helped them and other veterans during his time in the Senate. It features veterans from the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Desert Storm and as far back as Vietnam. It is an affective ad that is positive in nature, containing no reference to Feingold’s opponent.

The main focus of the ad is an appeal to the loyalty of the American people to our country, especially to our veterans. In the ad, veterans remind us that they are often ignored by both the American people and the American government when they return from duty. This is definitely supposed to bring about guilt in the watcher about the fact that our veterans are sometimes poor or homeless after they leave the military due to being unable to work because of injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The inclusion of a veteran from Vietnam may also remind the viewer how the American people have mistreated veterans in the past.

The point of all of this guilt is then to then bring in the veterans talking about how much Russ Feingold has done for them and other veterans. The veteran from Vietnam talks about how Feingold spearheaded an attempt to build five new veteran clinics in Wisconsin. Another veteran tells how Feingold attempted to improve education and healthcare benefits for veterans. The ad also contains two woman veterans, which is assuredly an attempt to appeal to woman voters with this ad too.
As for how this ad provides a model of citizenship, the model in the ad is Russ Feingold himself. Feingold is a model of an essential part of citizenship, patriotism, by showing his support for veterans and not forgetting about them after they finish their tours of duty. This makes viewers of this ad feel more like they should emulate Feingold to support the veterans. This would in turn make viewers more likely to vote for Feingold. The sense of patriotism is readily apparent in the last line of the ad by the veterans: “We were proud to stand up for this country, and we returned home, Russ stood up for us”.
- Lucas Oshman

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