Unity is Strength. Division is Surrender.

My years in advertising gave me an ear for language. Here is what it’s telling me about the 2024 elections.

Sheldon Clay
ILLUMINATION
Published in
4 min readMar 26, 2024

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Photo by Jonathan Meyer on Unsplash

Listen to the language of the 2024 U.S. campaign season and it sounds like the back-and-forth bickering of a divided nation. That’s usually how it gets played in the news. But if you listen more deeply, you hear something more frightening.

You hear the sound of a society that’s breaking apart.

The rise and fall of civilizations is a central theme of history. But civilizations don’t really fall — not the way you or I might go hurtling toward the pavement when we take a wrong step off the curb. Civilizations fragment. Cracks form, then deepen into fissures. When that happens all the malignant forces once kept at bay by a healthy society sweep into fight over the pieces.

You do not want to live in a society that’s breaking up around you. There’s no need to read history to understand that. Just ask the unfortunate citizens of Haiti. Or, for another cautionary tale, look at Israel. Bibi Netanyahu’s purposively divisive right-wing government weakened the nation to the breaking point. Now they’re in a war fighting for their existence.

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Sheldon Clay
ILLUMINATION

Writer. Observer of mass culture, communications and creativity.