Let’s wave the flag for truth
I was surprised by the flak I received about my guest post on Spin Sucks about how Ann Romney’s claim of eating off an ironing board in her young married days undermined her credibility.
If I had questioned something said by Laureen Harper, the well-liked wife of our conservative prime minister, partisans would have attacked. But in a quieter Canadian way.
That’s why we’re not big on U.S.-style attack ads. Our politicians know if they push too hard, the ads will backfire.
I first realized this as a child in a motor boat watching the tourists in boats festooned with American flags. They waved. We waved back. But we never waved first.
Growing up near Buffalo and American television, I loved watching the fantastic parades and sports pageantry. I’ll never forget the fourth of July spectacular I witnessed in Boston.
But there’s a long list of values and issues we disagree on, even in red zones like Calgary. We love our public healthcare so much that even the most right-wing politician would not change the fundamentals. Across our predominantly blue country, most of us also disagree about gun control, bank regulation, taxation and a host of other issues.
Despite our differences, many of us envy how gutsy and innovative Americans can be. We love Disney, Apple and Facebook. We love American television and film. We love your brands, as the many U.S. retailers now invading our country realize.
As your closest neighbour and best friend, we share your pain. Yesterday, on the anniversary of 9/11, we echoed your outrage and grief. We recall where we were on that day, just as we remember the first man on the moon and the Kennedy assassinations.
If you work in public relations or any other facet of business communication, you’ve probably been asked to spin or exaggerate a detail to improve a story. The outcry over the Romney ironing board simply demonstates why you need to decline.
Canadian or American, red or blue, it’s our job to wave the flag for truth. Not just because it’s right. But because it works.