What are “We The People” to do about the issues that matter – issues like abortion and climate change?
May 27, 2019 by epoetus
A first step: know your adversary and identify your limitations
Elected Democrats and leadership have misjudged the course of our political futures almost every step of the way for decades. We’ve also heard that a political turn towards progressivism will come soon, but instead our compromising mainstream Corporate Establishment Democratic elected officials seem to have doomed themselves to what seems like perpetual apologies and handwringing. Presidential candidate Nixon negotiated to undermine a peace agreement in Viet Nam so that he could win the election – treason. “[Sorry, but we thought we’d win anyway.]” said Democratic leadership. Presidential candidate Reagan negotiated with Iran on the hostage crisis and signed a contract with them so that he could win the election – treason. “[silence due to hand wringing]” from Democratic leadership. This was followed by decades of constant progressive losses – the list is very long – and there has been more treason since, but somehow our Democratic leadership has not been able to gain ground on behalf of the American people. How have we Democrats continually misjudged the situation and failed to alter the course of our political futures? In light of this what are we to do about critical issues that matter – issues that are designed to divide us like the perpetual public health political debate over a woman’s right to control her body, and existential crises like global warming? Maybe it is because our Elected Democrats, Democratic leadership and the media lack the will or have given up trying to combat a political party of bullies – or maybe they just don’t know how to control the narrative. Let’s hope that it is not the ongoing corruptive influence of Corporate “Money in Politics,” as seen in this Nation of change article, which shows the craven forked tongue nature of companies like AT&T, Walmart, Pfizer, Coca-Cola, and Aetna who talk about treating women equally in the workplace but fund candidates who support the latest attack on women’s healthcare:
“In their corporate literature, these companies present themselves as champions of women and gender equality,” says Legum. “But they have collectively donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to politicians seeking to roll back reproductive rights.”
Framing the discussion – the advice of George Lakoff
Use Truth Sandwiches to make your point and to avoid bolstering your adversaries narrative. For example: merely saying that you disagree with Trump’s claims that there was “No Collusion. No Obstruction” is not enough.
Truth Sandwiches in the context of Trump’s lies:
“A truth sandwich begins with the relevant truths, what is true about a given issue. It then says, here’s what Trump says or has done on this issue that violates those truths. Then it comes back and says the truth again, and it finishes up by saying why the difference between the truth and the lie is important.” – George Lakoff
The “Truth Sandwich” way to address a preposterous claim by someone like Trump that ensures your audience is properly absorbing and internalizing your message would be to respond with something like the following:
The Mueller report does not exonerate the President of obstruction of justice and clearly demonstrates that the Russians were very actively trying to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. There are ten (10) instances of obstruction documented in the redacted Mueller report that eight hundred (800) prosecutors now say is worthy of indictment – and the number keeps rising. The President has no basis to say “No collusion. No obstruction.” other than what Attorney General Barr has said. The facts of the matter, redacted as they are in the Mueller report, the guilty pleas, with at least eight (8) convictions, the ongoing court cases from twenty nine (29) indictments and investigations tell us quite clearly that many illegal acts were perpetrated during the 2016 elections. While the Mueller case may not have proven that the Trump campaign conspired with the Russians, there is a lot of smoke rising from the obstruction instances, and the ongoing efforts to cover up the investigations into these matters.
It is a war for “Hearts and Minds” – and the war is over words and how the messages settle in our minds
As with divisive topics like abortion, the Democrats need to frame the narrative for themselves with Truth Sandwiches and not get stuck in a battle on their opponents turf (e.g. arguing the merits of partial birth abortions and other “red herring” topics that serve to reinforce the Republicans ideological framing).
Another Truth Sandwich:
A woman’s right to choose is a public health matter. The role of government is to do the most good for the most people and the environment for the longest time. Since women who are denied abortions are more likely to live in poverty than women who have abortions, it makes sense to help women choose when they want to have children. Government’s job is to advocate for policies that improve the quality of life for all Americans. A woman’s right to choose is not an ideological matter to be tackled by politicians as the Republicans and their minority Evangelical constituents would have you believe. We need to solve the problems of this nation by promoting proven effective, common sense and reasonable options. Women who get pregnant when they don’t want to be is a real problem that can have very significant negative impacts on their lives, their families and friends. There are many proven safe and effective options available to women which benefit their lives and society as a whole, and that is the solution we support for the American people.
The Democrats must *own* the narrative for “We The People” – it must be a visionary message.
Democratic compromise, which yielded to the Republican conservative political economic agenda, has served as justification for not holding elected officials accountable – that must change. We must build a winning inclusive narrative for “We The People.” What do we want the United States to become? We want it to be the nation that staved off “Global Warming,” and the impacts of rising wealth and income inequality, and …
How do you talk to a bully? You stand up to them and put them in their place. The Democrats have not responded to the Republican party appropriately – they have blinked, cowered, apologized and wrung their hands for decades. By not understanding the very real and deep cognitive impacts of merely refuting Republican positions, and not taking the time to construct narratives that take charge of framing the debate correctly so that a clear “Truth Sandwich” message can be left with the audience, Democratic politicians will continue to lose. We need to pick candidates who will put their adversaries in their place, people like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC), and take the initiative with a narrative that defeats the Republicans while sending a message that speaks to everyone. Our battle for the “Hearts and Minds” of the people is not an ideological debate over progressivism versus socialism versus capitalism – it is about framing very real visceral problems as stories and talking about inclusive, proven effective and compassionate solutions that help everyone. Clearly this alone will not solve our problems with democracy, as the impact of “Money in Politics” has only made matters worse. Since Corporations are not *really* people, their political agenda is about producing quarterly earnings and profits – human rights be damned when influence can be bought to enable the colonization of Americans that boost revenues at huge rates of return. We have these vital communication tools at our disposal, so let’s employ them for the good of the country – the Republicans seem to have mastered them.
Johnson on Presidential candidate Nixon’s treasonous negotiations to thwart the Paris Peace talks to end the Viet Nam war
Presidential candidate Reagan negotiating with Iran over hostages
George Lakoff and his strategy for political messaging
The number is up to 800 former prosecutors support indicting the president for obstruction of justice
Women who are denied access to abortions are more likely to live in poverty than women who have abortions
Corporate influence on politics via “Money in Politics” remains a very big challenge for both parties