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Hello, today I will start a new diary series entitled "Reframing the Debate". I have just finished reading George Lakoff's book entitled Dont think of an elephant that has received a lot of positive feedback from major Democrats. I think in the grand scheme of things it is imperative that we progressives make the decision to pursue this course mainly for one reason. Evolution. You see in Evolution there is a certain trait that determines if a species will survive.  That trait is adaptability.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.
Charles Darwin

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First let me define what Darwin is talking about in the scientific sense.

An adaptation in biology is a trait with a current functional role in the life history of an organism that is maintained and evolved by means of natural selection. An adaptation refers to both the current state of being adapted and to the dynamic evolutionary process that leads to the adaptation. Adaptations contribute to the fitness and survival of individuals. Organisms face a succession of environmental challenges as they grow and develop and are equipped with an adaptive plasticity as the phenotype of traits develop in response to the imposed conditions. The developmental norm of reaction for any given trait is essential to the concept of adaptation as it affords a kind of biological insurance or resilience to varying environments.

That is from Wikipedia obviously, and it covers the science. What I am talking about is what the aforementioned book, Don't think of an elephant calls framing.  Framing is what Frank Lutz specializes in.  I would like to some info about him, however it would just push his hit count up so that he can demand more money to teach Republicans to talk.  What he does is teach Republicans / Conservatives how to "frame" an issue with words that trigger an embedded frame in people's mind that reinforces to them that the Conservatives want what they want.  Everyone wants to be right though, but the problem is our side generally has the facts and "truth" on our side.

You see Lakoff makes his point through science that people, when faced with facts outside their frame and a falsehood that is in their personal frame, will choose to go with the information that is in their frame. The problem for our side is that we believe as most logical people do that facts and the truth should always convince someone and that is where we are wrong.  With science showing us that this is a wrong conclusion we must reevaluate our stance and adapt or become extinct.  Sound dire?  Yes - I will grant you it sounds dire - but I believe that we must or we will become extinct.  

Framing works.  It works and has been proven to work.  Some of us will not want to use it for fear that they feel it is a republican tool and they would feel dirty. That is why I appeal to your sense of science. That is why the Darwin quote and the definition of adaptation. That is why we must get on with adapting to a proven scientific fact that humans are inherently emotional rather than rational. That is why the republicans are winning in so many areas where we thought facts and science would be enough to convince people to vote for us.

Let me leave you with my frame of the week.  Think about this and use this in your daily discussions with conservatives and liberals alike. I figured I may as well jump in with both feet and go with the granddaddy (or grandmother) of them all and try it on Abortion.  Republicans have been using this as a wedge issue for the past 40 years now. They recently have been targeting "partial birth abortion" as a slippery slope issue to get to all abortion. If they can get it done they can then extend the "right to life" even further.  Lakoff describe one conservative think tank that went so far as put a pizza jar out like a cuss word jar some of us have in our homes, and every time a staffer there forgot to say partial birth abortion instead of just abortion then they would have to put a dollar in the jar.

My frame for abortion is "Individual Freedom" as in instead of saying pro-choice, say pro individual freedom.  Try it with a conservative. The result may surprise you.  They will probably come back with well when do you feel like life starts?  Their position is conception; my personal opinion is "You become a citizen entitled to all the protection under the law when you take that first breath of American Air". Sounds corny I know but hey sometimes corny works.  Of course you have to sit through all kinds of what if's and all kinds of don't you think's but stick to your guns. Individual freedom wins out over right to life and prolife.  The stigma attached to anti-freedom is worse than anti-life because so many people want to be able to have the freedom to choose when they go.

Finally this is my personal position.  I do not agree with abortion on demand. I believe it should be a last resort that is only used when there is a case of incest, rape, or the life of the mother. It is my personal opinion and opinions are like assholes everyone has one. Of course as a man I do not have to even consider making that heart wrenching decision and as a person who is pro individual freedom I believe that each woman should have the freedom to choose what happens to her. I believe that freedom of choice to take care of your own body is the utmost individual freedom and should be protected at all costs.



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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, MKSinSA, prairiegirl

    In God we trust, but every other EmEFFer better bring me some Data.

    by wargolem on Sun Jan 29, 2012 at 08:41:48 AM PST

  •  Using "abortion on demand" is itself a frame. (0+ / 0-)

    No one faced with an unwanted pregnancy "demands" an abortion; you're buying into the "abortion as birth control" meme--which is about as prevalent as voter fraud.

    If you ever go to a clinic you'll see young single women who, through ignorance or a feeling of invincibility or a slip-up, got pregnant and can't face raising a child alone and can't deal with family/social stigma of "unwed motherhood" (which is still a very real attitude).  But you'll also see a great many married couples who cannot afford another child. You'll see women who want children but are carrying fetuses with profound birth defects.  You will not see anyone treating the procedure lightly.

    Once the word "abortion" crosses a woman's mind, there is no such thing as a good choice--there's only the choice the woman can best live with.

    On the whole, I agree with your premise about framing and the need to reframe our issues.  There no dishonor in fighting fire with fire, and I'm tired of getting beaten in the PR game.  Like every else, I agree that logic and reason should rule the day, but you're right--too often it doesn't.  We need to recognize that.

    "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

    by DrLori on Sun Jan 29, 2012 at 11:04:22 AM PST

    •  Trust me I have been through it with someone close (0+ / 0-)

        I dated a young woman once who had had an abortion. We were both young and she had had an abortion about 6 months before we started dating.  We were together for about 5 years after that.  Every October 6th she would get in the worst way, depressed beyond most help.  

         This is why I said that although I personally do not agree with it I can not put myself in their shoes because it is just too heart wrenching to even comprehend.  I know that everyone has their own reasons and that is why I think it is a personal choice that they should have the freedom to make. It really is a decision I am glad I have never had to share in.

        This diary was not intended to promote my belief I was just using my belief as to how I personally frame it to try and make people understand why I as a liberal Christian support personal freedom to choose. It is not my place to judge right or wrong and only to try and support the person or persons whom have made those choices in the best way I can.

        I did intend for this to be a thought provoking diary that helps us understand that we need to adapt to the new rules of the game of become much like the whigs and federalist parties of days gone by. Evolution will come for all of us and only those who adapt to the ever changing fluid reality of modern day politics will survive to be able to govern.

       Thank you for your input and I appreciate it, I just wish more people would realize that we are behind the 8 ball and just winning because the Republicans govern so badly.

      In God we trust, but every other EmEFFer better bring me some Data.

      by wargolem on Sun Jan 29, 2012 at 11:27:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Keep the frames coming! (0+ / 0-)

    I really like the breath of American air. It really plays into Conservative jingoism. Brilliant. How would you re-frame global warming? Could use some help there...

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