Let’s try to be clear and be careful to not use nor reinforce inaccurate republican talking points. Mkay?
Liz Goodwin @lizcgoodwin
“My party’s not known for worrying about the deficit or the debt too much but it’s time for us to start getting into that,” Mayor Pete says in NH town hall in response to voter anxious about debt. Says everything his campaign has proposed is paid for. 11:34 AM · Dec 5, 2019
Shame on U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., for choosing to stand on the side of powerful corporations instead of working for the people who elected him (“Blunt blasts EPA for Ameren lawsuit,” Jan. 14).
Members of Congress have the moral responsibility to protect the health and safety of all Americans, and this includes keeping cancer-causing pollutants out of our air.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, despite attacks on it from people like Mr. Blunt, works to keep our air and water clean enough to sustain life. Scientists at the EPA know that in an average year a typical coal plant emits almost 4 million tons of carbon dioxide, not to mention doses of arsenic, mercury, lead and other heavy metals.
So when Ameren chooses its own wealth over our well being, our elected official should be outraged. Instead, the relationship between many of our elected representatives and corporate lobbyists has become almost incestuous.
We should ask Mr. Blunt if he works for us or for Ameren Missouri.
Progressives believe that the benefits of economic production should be shared by those who actually do the work and produce the wealth, not just by shareholders and top executives.
Progressives believe that the moral mission of government includes the protection and empowerment of citizens. Protection includes education of all of its citizens, defense against inhumane working conditions, medical care when needed, access to safe food, air and water, and a national defense and intelligence infrastructure commensurate with changing world conditions.
Sarah jo, a student of George Lakoff, recommends that whenever we criticize the right we should ALWAYS BEGIN BY STATING THE UNDERLYING MORALITY OF OUR POSITION. If you look at the italicized passages, you’ll see that the letter writer has done that. When it comes to effective communication with those who aren’t already in one’s own camp, Republicans have spent billions to give themselves a Ph.D. in mass psychology and linguistics. We’re in the second grade. But you get to skip a grade if you develop the presence of mind to always state the underlying morality of your position whenever you are presenting the lefty point of view. I’m going to do that–and bask in being a fourth grader.
Of course, most of the readers on this site implicitly understand that morality already, so I won’t be informing you of something you didn’t know. But, and here’s the thing, I suspect that we need to see this linguistic paradigm practiced. That’s the only way that the need for making our morality explicit to others will sink in. Otherwise, if you just read about it once, the admonition will strike you as “Yeah, yeah, she’s probably right.” And the idea will go no further.
This is an experiment. I don’t know whether I’ll find it too klunky to do it faithfully on this site. But I’ll try it, and I invite you to let me know how well you think it works–or doesn’t. (My sensibilities aren’t delicate. Speak up.)
Remember how Tom Sawyer managed to get out of the onerous job of painting Aunt Polly’s fence? He just employed a little misleading rhetoric and persuaded his friends that it was the best fun ever, and if they would only pay him for the privilege, he would surrender the paint brush and let them paint to their hearts content.
Isn’t this exactly what the GOP and their media supporters have managed to do in reverse? That is, take a long lineup list of Democratic legislative achievements that will make our lives better, persuade a big swath of not so savy Americans that the list is a criminal indictment, and if they’ll only fork over their votes, they’ll get in on the fun and get to lob some figurative stones at the responsible malefactors.
Let us be clear – Republicans have done nothing for two years but try to stamp their sclerotic old feet on the brakes. It was Democrats who stabilized the economy and staved off another Great Depression. Democrats gave us health care reform that will provide millions of previously uninsured people with protection, rationalize medical spending and ultimately contribute to lowering the deficit. In spite of massive lobbying efforts to stop them, Democrats took on the broken regulatory system and passed a major financial oversight bill. There are dozens of smaller achievements.
But just today we read in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Robin Carnahan hid from the Vice President when he visited here on Friday. The report details the ways she tries to brush off any association with the successes of the past two years. If you read Michael Bersin’s recent Claire McCaskill Q&A posts, you’ll note that she’s definitely on the defensive also. Which leads one to ask: Why aren’t our Missouri Democrats on the attack instead of on the run? Don’t they know that if you run, you’re gonna get chased down and the end isn’t usually pretty?
I don’t mean to be too hard on our Missouri Democrats – who would probably love to do the right thing. They are no different from the rest of the party. As a group, they’ve been outclassed by the Tom Sawyers of the GOP, who have joined up with the media arm of their right-wing noise machine to blast heavy-duty flim-flam from coast to coast – and Americans sure do like them some flim-flam.
In part, this is an issue of what George Lakoff calls framing although I prefer to talk about hijacking. Republicans use simple, frequently dishonest, often manufactured refrains, repeated incessantly and aimed at the gut in order to hijack perceptions. They’re cynical enough, crazy enough, or stupid enough to do this without qualms. And how should Democrats respond to being hijacked by crazed morons? Certainly not by pretending to be just as cynical, crazy or stupid.
Remember the Maersk Alabama hijacking? The ship’s crew didn’t jump overboard – they threw the hijackers off. Before Democrats can successfully reframe their agenda, they have to stand up to Republicans. If they jump off the boat, it’s lost.
Instead of hemming and hawing about her previous support for health care, why doesn’t Carnahan demand to know how Blunt could vote against the welfare of the millions of Americans? Why aren’t Carnahan, McCaskill and other Missouri Democrats demanding that the Republican zealots stand up and face a few unpleasant facts? Why are they all so dammed nice and quiet, only speaking up when they think they might be able to claim a Republican brownie point? Instead of running in the direction that the polls point, why aren’t they out there planting the direction signs? Where are our leaders?
* Third from last paragraph edited for clarity. The phrase “frequently dishonest, often manufactured” was added to the second sentence .
Speaking of FRAMING, a pet peeve of ours is the general inability to de-couple the terms “health care” and “insurance coverage” when thinking about health care reform. We would also be better served to stop thinking in terms of premiums and claims. It is a good idea to start thinking about health care as necessary to a common good. Maybe even a human right.
The insurance model with which we have struggled for the last umpteen years is filled with words like deductible, co-pay, preexisting condition, and eligibility. All of these ideas, that we hold so closely in our conscious thoughts regarding health care, are nothing more than accepted (or more appropriately, unconscious) signals for additional out of pocket payments. We shy away from “higher premium packages” accepting the responsibility of paying higher “co-pays and deductibles”, hoping to beat the odds. We “insure” ourselves against illness rather than committing to building a healthier society. We have been conditioned to think of health care in insurance-ese rather than in terms of care needs. In short, we are prisoners of insurance industry framing.
We would like to recommend a jailbreak. Once safely on the outside, we could think in terms of “programs” instead of “packages”, “wellness” rather than “illness” and “needs ” as opposed to “allowable services”. We could laugh in the faces of those who dourly offer the incantation of “Socialized Medicine” and call it “Freedom to be Healthy” instead. We could stop worrying about how much “we” are paying to fund health care for Tom and Harry and instead look upon a healthier society as a shared goal which is necessary for a strong national defense.
The jailbreak won’t come easily. We will have to discard “preexisting” notions, “disallow” prior prejudices and rule “ineligible” insurance industry jargon. We will need to develop new framing ideas that underscore our dedication to health care reform. If we should falter along the way, we need only recall the lost opportunity to reframe the Iraqi “War” as the Iraqi “Occupation”, thereby endowing GWB with the ability to control the debate by stating , “We’re at war”! Change comes one frame at a time. Lets start reframing this debate.