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Politics and sales have a lot in common. The better product often is outsold by competitors who know how to use public perception to their own ends. Fox News is the preferred outlet for those selling the inferior product that is better known as The Republican Party, but they aren't the only people writing ad copy for the right.

Words make it real.

Our right wing opponents have invested a lot in reworking the English language for their own ends and for the profits of the tiny minority that benefit from the world designed for the 1%. The progressive movement must beat them at their own game with better rhetoric that describes the truth in a way that even the most casual observer of the process can understand.

"Climate Change" is a phrase that is far too mild to attract the attention of people just trying to make a living in a world that grows more hostile to their efforts every day. I would suggest that substituting "Climate Disaster" better imparts the result of our abuse of our atmosphere.

The Koch Brothers are a good representative stand-ins for the nature of the 40 families that control the economy of the United States.  They just beg to be exposed as the Bond Villains that they truly are. No, they don't live in hollowed out volcanos surrounded by hundreds of silver suited minions toting sub machine guns, but they do live in mansions in the sky overlooking Central Park surrounded by armies of lawyers and lobbyists in very nice ten thousand dollar bespoke suits. All the Kochs really need are white Persian long hairs and shoes that expose poison spikes when released. A nice tank full of piranhas crossed by a trick footbridge wouldn't hurt. There are generations of us who know what Bond Villains are. No further explanation is necessary.

Nothing drives the Koch apologists up the wall more than calling their industry "Big Carbon".

Re-normalization is a concept that works and communicates the proposal better than redistribution, a term that conjures up collectivist authoritarianism. Re-normalizing the economy would rebalance the ownership of our resources and increase the number of middle-class stakeholders. Re-normalization would simply be a return to better times for the vast majority

There are always going to be a considerable number of people who will elect people who will work against the voters best interests. Usually that means that there is a real disconnect with political involvement. The truth is most people can live quite nicely without ever thinking about how or why their government is the way it is. Obama was right about people who cling to their guns and religion but missed the reason. Guns and religion are their hobbies. Folk love their hobbies more than life itself. Our challenge is to explain how necessary changes won't  threaten their hobbies. Our mantra should be "Disarm the enemy".  Gun laws for rural Montana really won't work in inner city Chicago. This isn't going to make everybody happy, but writing law that removes opportunity for mayhem could find a lot of support and isolate the un-reconstructable reactionaries.

I think "Law and Order" was the original magic phrase that covered the oppression of the poor, people of color and other minorities with a cloak of respectability. Justice is a concept everyone can get behind, and justice will sort out street thug and banker alike. There is a lot of pent up resentment of the corrupt hedge fund speculators who do nothing but fiddle with other people's money and become billionaires. That resentment can be tapped to help re-normalize the economy.

Certainly, we have a lot of creative folk reading Kos and doing the NetRoots thing who can come up with better phraseology than me.

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for the curious spellings or word substitution made by auto-correct.


Originally posted to shoeguy on Fri May 02, 2014 at 03:07 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hmmmm (7+ / 0-)

    Methinks the best way forward would be to drop the "us v. them" sort of wording.  From personal history, when one defines different as being bad, one loses the entire argument.

    When I talk to loggers about the importance of not clear cutting, I don't start out with, "Cutting down trees is bad!" Because, well, that's a little off-putting to people who make their living cutting down trees.  But, if I begin with something more like, "How can we make sure there are trees to cut down in the future?  How do we promote the diversity of forests?"  I find that this is much better for starting dialog and building cooperative discussions.

    You're right, it's all about the packaging.  The language needs to be inclusive and constructive.  The more you can talk with people about issues they care about, the better chance you have of breaking them out of the rigid "us v. them" way of thinking.

    •  On that, I can't imagine what constituency (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      could possibly get behind the diarist's suggestion of "Disarm the enemy".

      I agree with the overall idea - that language is important - but this is what George Lakoff (on our side) and Frank Lutz (on theirs) has been trying to do for years.  It's tough to know what works, and make these things "catch".

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Fri May 02, 2014 at 07:13:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What works best? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        native, tharu1, Gardener in PA

        Repetition, repetition, repetition . . . it was recently noticed by people much more educated than myself that people need to hear an idea three or four times, sometimes with different language each time, but expressing the same idea, before they were able to conceive of the idea themselves.  Once they were able to conceive of the idea themselves, they began to understand the logic behind the idea.

        My example with the loggers was based on actual conversations I had with actual loggers -- it's all about breaking down the unhelpful and destructive mentality of "us v. them" and working together for the betterment of all.  Once they understood that I was not so different from them, we were able to effectively communicate. Once we were able to effectively communicate, the loggers dug into their own observations about how forests remain healthy. And a number of them realized that there are sustainable ways of logging other than clear-cutting.

      •  It depends what diarist means; (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gardener in PA, cv lurking gf

        Linguistically, yes. If they mean stripping Americans of their guns... let alone their religion... no chance.

        The other thing I would point out is that climate change is a more accurate term than say global warming or the greenhouse effect (terms it replace). Whatever you call it, it seems that what is happening is slowing down the gulfstream, which keeps Western Europe much warmer than it would be otherwise. It also reflects the fact that changes in the climate, including precipitation and cloud cover that will change too. People who are  open to the idea that the real warming is happening can mostly comprehend that the warming is occuring; this generally makes the world wetter, but for some places it will mean more frequent drought or clouds with no rain. A lot of them don't know or believe that. Most would be very surprised to discover that the heating of the planet will actually cause certain places to cool off - at least for a while (a while being decades or centuries, perhaps more than that).

        I don't disagree with their main point, but the targets and alternatives are not ideal.

        But again, they have a point; talking about marriage equality as opposed to 'gay-marriage' helped our side a lot on that one (the right, freedomloving, equality based side, btw).

        I ride the wild horse .

        by BelgianBastard on Sat May 03, 2014 at 12:51:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The US is constituted by a constitution, but has (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Superpole, linkage, AdoubtR2

    gone to plan B. It's as if Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and some people noticed but nothing much was done, the Japanese posing as anti-FDR patriots. That feeling of having gone over a cliff results from the Supreme Court ending the rule of law and making sure everyone is armed.

    FDR won two wars, one against the Supreme Court, the other against the Axis. Eventually the fascists and the Court have come back to crush any memory of how FDR/JFK/LBJ did it, that is, by an accountable Congress.

    Democracy sometimes has nothing to do with talking, rather action, like the 13th amendment or VRA. The civil war now is against the plutocrats who hate people, democracy, free speech, Lincoln, FDR and everything the US is supposed to stand for. This is nothing new, Lincoln. FDR, JFK, LBJ, Carter faced them, future generations inevitably will also. BTW today's civil war is being lost without a battle, failing to ban plutocrat money from elections, is like letting Lee's Army headquarter at the White House. Failing to drop the exceptions clause on the Court makes the US a vassal state of Big Carbon. It's money in politics that assassinates BC's enemies.

    •  Legality (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      What provides that a move or a position is "legal"?  Is it legal if bad laws provide "legality" to a select, "well-healed" group of financial supporters that are capable of supplying limitless finances to influence both Congress and the Executive Branch and, perhaps even the Court and, through the use of vast sums of money, influence law-makers, circumvent normal legislative process, and interpret laws their favor and to the expense/detriment  of the vast majority of the population? Yes, it is legal while the "law" permits.  And some laws MUST be passed to correct "foolish" laws- laws that do NOT provide for the "common good" of the People.  

      There are plenty of articles on the internet that expose the much-revered "Rule of Law" gets interpreted by different people to mean vastly different things to various Courts and, in the executive and legislative Branches, both sides of the isle have proudly thrown morality in the trash can, all the while claiming their allegiance to the common good and the Rule of Law. In my opinion, the Industrial Military Complex (watch Eisenhower's video speech) has much to do with decades of failed Foreign Policy and the cause/source of legislation that has taken "freedoms" away and of Trillions of Dollars of debt upon the heads of our grand-children- all, I suspect, to continue the "enslavement" of those that "do not have" and maintain the status quo for those in power.  There's a two Party system for this very that there is no challenge to the "status quo."

      •  the rule of law defined by Marshall, who fought (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        in the revolution, in Marbury he said Congress could not expand the Court's original jurisdiction because the Constitution wouldn't let it. On the other hand, the Court could not overturn laws unless beyond doubt unconstitutional. Any greater interference by the Court in lawmaking would be oligarchy. Judicial supremacy on behalf of slavery eventually won out in Dred Scott and then created the plutocratic gilded age.

        Entrenched extreme inequality, court approved, was challenged by Progressives, and with the 1929 crash, FDR gained an opportunity to wage a war against the economic royalists and their Court. He won that war and brought about enormous reduction of inquality. In 1976 the plutocrats struck back in Buckley and eventually restored inequality as well as dismantling the enemy, democracy.

        That's where we're at, with the paid off parties doing nothing to address the issue. They are paid to distract, while securing plutocrat interests, a shell game. The amendment approach is guaranteed to fail. The FDR legislative approach, a democratic core value, is actively suppressed. The electorate will have to organize as a single issue voter movement to coerce Congress into action. Like capturing Berlin in WWII, there really is only one option. To defeat plutocracy's control over all aspects of government, voters have to establish the accountability of the elected branches to the electorate by cutting off the supply of plutocratic money into the system. Not all that different from what Grant did at Vicksburg.

  •  Words are for deception.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, tharu1

    The easiest way to hide something is with words.

    The truths that people wish to tell, they tell by their actions.

    The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you are throttling today. - August Spies

    by joegoldstein on Sat May 03, 2014 at 05:12:03 AM PDT

    •  Words can be true, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      native, linkage, tharu1

      and often are.

      Actions can be intentionally deceptive.

      •  Meteor Blades excellent sig will perhaps better (5+ / 0-)

        reflect what I am attempting to convey: " Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe. "

        Certainly ONE statement or ONE action can be truthful or deceptive. But I submit to you that, over time, what I wrote is truth.

        The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you are throttling today. - August Spies

        by joegoldstein on Sat May 03, 2014 at 10:48:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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