This Is Not Who We Are

This Is Not Who We Are

Updated Nov 28, 2018 at 03:06PM EST by Matt.

Added Nov 28, 2018 at 02:16PM EST by Matt.

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About

This Is Not Who We Are is a phrase used to express dissatisfaction and opposition to the actions of the United States government, particularly following the election of President Donald Trump The phrase, while used to criticize American policy in the past, has become associated with the Resistance, a subset of online Trump critics.

Origin

The phrase "this is not who we are" has been an expression within Democratic politics in the United States since as early as 2007. On May 29th, 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama spoke at a presidential campaign rally in Iowa City, Iowa, calling for an overhaul of the healthcare system in the United States.[1] He said, "It is simply not right that the skyrocketing profits of the drug and insurance industries are paid for by the skyrocketing premiums that come from the pockets of the American people. This is not who we are. And this is not who we have to be."

Spread

Over the next decade, the phrase became a popular one used by President Obama. In December 2010, following the release of the Senate's report on the use of torture by the United States following the 9/11 attacks, President Obama said the program was "contrary to who we are."[2] Many refuted the president's claim, with The Atlantic publishing the piece "Torture Is Who We Are."[3]

The phrase became something of a cliche during President Obama's tenure, as his repeated use of the expression was parodied in political cartoons and YouTube videos (shown below).


THIS IS NOT WHO WE ARE THIS IS WHO WE ARE CIA REPORT HANDS UR DON'T SHOOT! om

On March 10th, 2015, The Guardian[4] published an opinion piece called "'This is not who we are’ is American for: ‘This is sort of who we are.’"

Following the election of President Donald Trump, the phrase continued to grow in popularity. However, the phrase was used an expression of dissent against the policies of the White House, particularly in response to policy against immigrants and minorities. For example, on November 26th, 2018, The View cohost Ana Navaro tweeted,[5] "I can’t get this image out of my mind. Yes, we have a right and duty to secure our borders. But shooting tear-gas at innocent children cannot be the way to do it. The world is watching. This is not who we are, America."


Ana Navarro @ananavarro l can't get this image out of my mind. Yes, we have a right and duty to secure our borders. But shooting tear-gas at innocent children cannot be the way to do it. The world is watching. This is not who we are, America.

However, many have begun to express their exhaustion with the phrase, believing that by saying "this is not who we are," many Americans are failing to see the destructive and inhumane policies of the United States of the past. For example, on November 26th, Twitter[6] user @kashanacauley tweeted, "Quietly developing a slingshot that hurls a history book at each person who tweets 'this is not who we are.'" The tweet received more than 5,900 retweets and 37,000 likes in two days (shown below).


Quietly developing a slingshot that hurls a history book at each person who tweets "this is not who we are."

Others expressed their frustration with the sentiment, posting both GIFs and images to express their disdain for the phrase. Additionally, some post images of controversial American policy in action that exemplified their point (examples below).

On November 27th, 2018, The Daily Dot [7] published an article on the expression.


The U.S. government: "does something horrible and harmful to marginalized communites* You: "This is not who we are." 13 Me: Americans: THIS IS NOT WHO WE ARE! History: GIF CW: state violence An introductory visual primer for those who claim, "This is not who we are." SP


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