The Pawlenty-Harper videos, word by word

I’ve been watching and rewatching the Tim Pawlenty “Courage to Stand” video that the Tories ripped virtually shot for shot. Every time I see it, it gives me goosebumps.

Whatever you make of the message and the U.S. presidential contender’s Tea Party ties, it is an inspiring piece of film-making. Credit here goes to a Canadian. The video was created by Lucas Baiano, a Niagara Falls, Ont.-born wunderkind who had previously worked on Hillary Clinton’s bid for the Democratic nomination in 2008.

Baiano, interestingly, includes several Canadian organizations on his list of clients for his production company, including Petro-Canada, the Ontario government and Tim Hortons.

Not only is the Pawlenty film visually beautiful, it’s also a nice piece of writing. I transcribed the text as best I could:

The United States of America is the most successful nation the world has ever known
I think that’s largely because of our freedom
Humans cannot reach their potential, cannot realize their dreams, unless they’re free
If prosperity were easy, everybody around the world would be prosperous
If freedom were easy, everybody around the world would be free
if security was easy, everybody around the world would be secure
They are not
None of this is going to be easy, but this is the United States of America
It takes an extraordinary effort
It takes extraordinary commitment
It takes extraordinary strength
Valley Forge wasn’t easy
Going to to the moon wasn’t easy
Settling the West wasn’t easy
We are the American people
We have seen difficulty before, and we’ve always overcome
This about rolling up our sleeves.
We’re going to have some differences
But (were) Americans putting our heads down and getting it done

I don’t know if Baiano was involved in the Harper ad that shameless rips the Pawlenty piece. It’s clearly the weaker of the two, yet still an effective piece of political communication.

The text, however, reads much flatter, and I’m not sure how stirring Canadians would find the jingoistic imagery — “the greatest nation in the world” — that feels at home in the Pawlenty video. The first line is virtually meaningless. Note the way the Harper ad steals the triplet structure as above:

Canada is, and always has been, our country
And we want Canada to be a true north that is as strong and as free as it can be
In every way that matters, the best country in the world
That’s why we’re here
That’s why we strive
That’s why we serve
Canada must reflect the true character of the Canadian people
Honourable in our dealings
Faithful to our commitments
Loyal to our friends
By turns, a courageous warrior and a compasionate neighbour
Our purpose, that Canada must be great
It must great for all Canadians
It must be a country of hope and an example to the world
And only when it is these things
When Canada is all that it can be
Only then can we say that our work is done

BTW: Keen-eyed readers will notice that the “courageous warrior” line is accompanied by the image of Harper walking out of the House of Commons for a press conference, following the fall of his government.

3 thoughts on “The Pawlenty-Harper videos, word by word

  1. I find the first line of this ad disturbing. What does Stephen mean when he states, Canada is, and always has been, our country. What happened to the previous owners? Did the aboriginal population just disappear? What about previous colonists like the French and the English? This statement, while having a wonderful ring to it, has little meaning.

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