Progressive radio talk show host Norman Goldman has it right. The terms Democrat, liberal, and progressive are now Pavlovian triggers for conservatives to shut the mind off and fall back on dozens of deeply planted catchphrases. Between Limbaugh and Pox News, the lie imprinting is relentless.
So it's in the best interests of those of the above-mentioned stripes to rebrand ourselves as Inclusive Americans in a way best described in this saying:
"To be a Practicing Patriot you MUST be an Inclusive American standing proudly together not defiantly apart."
This is the perfect rallying cry in so many ways. To rail against it is to admit to racism, a false sense of superiority, and the sociopathic meme of "I've got mine, you're on your own." That latter concept has been strangely twisted into the notion of freedom. And let's face it, the only freedoms driving the CORPservatives steering the GOP are freedom FROM corporate oversight, freedom FROM fair taxation, and freedom FROM the liberty inherent in fair elections.
But the vision of freedom that they have instilled into their sheep is the freedom to carry loaded rifles across their chests in Walmart. How can they not see that that act is the lowest threshold of actual terrorism? A young child sees that selfish display and thinks mommy, daddy, or they could die in a matter of seconds. Their vulnerable reaction is likely to be irrational fear and horror which could stay with them in large or small ways for years.
Division is one of the cornerstones of the GOP brand, and we can readily make that obvious when people bristle at the thought of an Inclusive America. And that tendency needs to expelled from us too.
I'm a paratransit driver, on the road 50+ hours a week in San Francisco and throughout Northern California, and I see lots of behaviors that trigger hate. There are the lit cigaret tossers, the dying exit lane lungers, the right-of-way ignorers. Out of the necessity of not carrying these emotions throughout my day, I've learned to look away and not glare at them with locked-on eyes. I've learned to remember that they may love and be loved in their lives, despite their disdain for courtesy, integrity, and fair play. I don't necessary forgive instantly, but the charge of anger is far more fleeting.
We have to be Inclusive Americans with our conservative friends (and adversaries) and remember to see them as part of the 99% as well. They might not understand that we are fighting to make their lives better, too, but in that sense they are on the same team whether they run the wrong way or not.
Many are nicer than you'd guess, and adopted absolutism only after Rush and Pox News reframed their worlds. They have been trained to view politics in black and white, and for them to acknowledge that there are shades of gray is like admitting weakness. Or for some even gayness.
Many, of course are more progressive than they'd guess on an issue by issue basis. Going by the term Inclusive American opens that door a bit. On almost every issue there is common ground to be found if you're prepared up front for it. And let's face it. The GOP has painted themselves into dozens of corners through lies, hypocrisy, and a very tangible methodology to their propaganda. Armed with truth, we can use pithy phrases that capture that dynamic and turn GOP parroted talking points on their head. Here are a few:
By fighting against food stamps and a living wage, the GOP's perspective on the poor is "LET THEM EAT BOOTSTRAPS."
If you preach "family values" shouldn't you be VALUING FAMILIES by insuring they get a living wage, well-funded schools, and good healthcare?
Where is the GOP's "Live and Let Live?" Without it they are merely pious with a corporate bias
Connect the dots; who are the GOP fighting for when they protect laws giving tax breaks for offshoring jobs?
If the lie of denying global climate change is now debunked, what other lies has the GOP floated to promote their agenda?
Isn't it advocating for Blue Blood Welfare when you preserve billionaire tax breaks?
The GOP fights for the OVERprivileged while cutting services and opportunity for the underprivileged
House Speaker Boehner has held 55 votes to repeal Obamacare, and NONE to add jobs
GOP willing to crimp our economy to prevent any Obama successes
If the GOP is all about liberty, how come they pass laws to make it harder for the elderly, students, and minorities to vote?
When face to face, sometimes we have to bolster our positions up front before debate begins. We can fight Rush lies if we start with a premise that conservatives embrace and then solve it through progressive policies. Start a conversation like this:
"Don't you think it's time to start paying down the trillions in national debt?"
"You bet I do!"
"You know that some CEOs and Wall St. bankers make a thousand times what you and I do? People in that world were taxed at 91% in Eisenhower's day and we got interstate highways out of that. Now they pay 39.6%. If these billionaires were taxed at 72%, below the level when Reagan came into office, we could pay down our national debt, build infrastructure, and better fund all states. Wouldn't that be an improvement?"
Hard thought amidst ingrained conflict: "Yeah, I guess so."
"Reagan dropped the top tax rate to 35% and then 28% before having to bring it upwards again. He created more debt for our country than all presidents before him, pushing huge deficit spending and putting it all on our national credit card. Do you see how the Bush tax cuts did the same thing to a smaller scale?"
Then, before his brain unfreezes, tell him how the GOP still prevents ending tax breaks for overseas outsourcing, fights against consumer protection, and pushes for an end to the minimum wage.
Truth matters. It wins. It is supported in the world around us.
We have to expose the GOP's Republo-fascist world view, their Swiss cheese Christianity, the way they use racism to achieve corporate goals, and that overwhelming stench of privilege. We can win the Word Wars against Karl Rove, Frank Luntz, the Koch brothers, Roger Ailes, and Dick Armey if we popularize the above concepts and the dozens yet to be crafted that capture that same dynamic. This is where hashtags and Facebook and issue activism and Occupy and national progressive organizations and liberal media figures all hold the power to ride the wave of swelling populism. What if all of these tools to spread ideas embraced our fight as being for an Inclusive America? What if all of their appeals to their bases are framed as part of that goal?
And when you say to yourself and those around you, "I stand for an Inclusive America," what do you feel? Unity. Strength in numbers. Destiny. The true course for a planet in peril. The way out. The way up. The way to heal. The way to ward off a civilization saddled with irreversible entropy for our grandchildren.
Let the call for an Inclusive America be a part of how we shut out Republicans for a generation, when justifiable taxation of the exceedingly wealthy and mega-corporations provides the door to prosperity and opportunity for all.