A letter in the Wednesday Post-Dispatch deserves comment.
For whom does Sen. Blunt work?
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.
Note that the letter writer has been listening to the advice dished out on this site by sarah jo, who summarized the Core Progressive Message, including this:
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.)