Friday, November 26, 2004

Dealing with Conservatives


And so, those of us with progressive values have been relegated to the status of the underdog. We are in the minority of the house, the senate, and the courts. Our voices are often muffled by the parties in power that administrate the government, control the corporate puppet strings, and speak the angry rhetoric on radio talk shows. The Neo-conservatives have no interest in moderation, and they continue to define the issues as they see fit. It’s an extremist movement that claims conservative values, yet continues to escalate massive government spending and increased control over personal freedoms.

Many of us continue to go about business as usual, believing that activism is futile when the powers-that-be continue to hold the upper hand of America’s interests. There was a lot of anger at the current administration on so many different levels, but it’s difficult to argue with a 51% advantage, even if it might have been manufactured with questionable voting devices. The opposition candidate conceded earlier than many of us would have chosen, and it’s difficult to question the outcome when the one that had the most to gain, simply gave up the battle.

For those of that refuse to act as mere stepping stones for the party of power, there is some hope in the motivated voices that refuse to give up on the principles of fairness, environmental safety, and accountability. Whether one realizes it or not, the political battleground has been defined by the Republicans that use such terms as “tax relief,” “partial-birth abortion,” and “affirmative action quotas.” to name a few.

Dr George Lakoff understands the importance of proper framing, and describes this concept in his excellent book entitled “Don't Think of an Elephant.” In a letter to Dr. Lakoff, a reader describes putting Lakoff’s principles in action after watching an interview on Bill Moyer’s NOW PBS program:

“I took several examples from the interview; particularly trial vs. public protection lawyer and gay marriage and used those examples all week on AOL’s political chat room. Every time someone would scream about [John] Edwards’s being a trial lawyer, I’d respond with public protection lawyer and how they are the last defense against negligent corporations and [are] professional, and that the opposite of a public protection lawyer is a corporate lawyer who typically makes $400-500/per hr., and we pay that in higher prices for good and services.”

You can read more about Dr. Lakoff and his principles in an article entitled “How to Respond to Conservatives.”

http://www.rockridgeinstitute.org/research/lakoff/howtorespond
E.P. Friday, November 26, 2004