One of the most important things the Democratic Party must do before 2018 is learn how to talk about our issues in simple language.
Millions of people who by all rights ought to be firmly on our side know nothing at all about what the D party stands for, know nothing at all about what the Democratic party has done for them, and know nothing at all about what Ds would do if they vote us in, because we have not been able to communicate with them in words they understand.
The most highly revered spokespeople on the Blue Team are fairly highly educated, because we value education, and that would be a good thing except that as a result they talk like college educated people and their speeches and statements are only understandable by other people who are equally highly educated.
When it comes to Jane and Joe Averagevoter, we may as well be speaking a foreign language.
The Republican Party made a conscious decision to use simple language because that’s what the majority of the voters understand. They boil complicated policies down to third-grade vocabulary and explain issues as though they are talking to children. They come up with short catch phrases that encapsulate their positions in two or three short, alliterative and/or rhyming words.
They do not worry about whether the phrase makes sense or is truthful.
Only three steps matter:
(1) The phrase must be easy enough for a child to remember and repeat. (Ideally, it would also be easy for a child to spell.)
(2) The phrase must use words with positive value identity for the base (mom & apple pie, patriotism & freedom, God & glory) in the hope that voters will associate Republicons with those positive values and associate Democrats with the opposite/negative value.
(3) The phrase is disseminated through talking points regurgiated by as many spokesbots as possible. Even if it has nothing to do with the question asked at the press conference or in the interview, the phrase is thrown out on the table and repeated and repeated and repeated until a conditioned response is set up in the electorate to have this phrase automatically pop into their heads whenever a certain issue is raised.
There’s no reason why we can’t do it too.
So far we have only managed to do this three times: War on Women, Marriage Equality, and Yes We Can.
But that proves we can do it. We need to do it more often.
The Red Team is trying hard to push back on the #resist meme right now. Good, that must mean resistance language is catching on and/or bothering them.
Rcons keep asking, “what are they resisting, exactly?” with all kinds of snarky answers along the lines of “they are resisting the fact that they lost* the election” and words to that effect.
This Tuesday is a good news day. Because someone came up with a video explaining what we are resisting. And explaining it in terms that a child could understand, mostly (there is a sprinkling of hundred-dollar words in there, but overall it is very plain talk).
In fact, the very name of the video is What To Tell The Children:
What to Tell the Children
tell them that this is the great awakening
tell them that we humans have made some huge mistakes
and that's how we now find ourselves in this tenuous place
teach them that hate is the poison
teach them that love is the remedy
that is it better to be readied for what comes next
even if the revelation is painful
tell them that this is the paradigm shift, that the old is collapsing in on itself
that this death rattle is simply a temper tantrum, the last gasp of a dying Goliath
remind them of how they get wild when they are most tired and then pass out
that this is what it's about
that this is what is happening to a decrepit and ineffective empire
tell them that everything is not OK
and knowing that, is OK
tell them that pretending that what is unacceptable is fine
is what got us to this sick and dysfunctional spot on the time line
apologize for any prior attempts to teach them denial
tell them you were blinded by desire for comfortable numbness
express that you had the best of intentions
that you were working within a broken system
where few benefited at the expense of many
that you laid low, kept to the status quo, obediently played your role
but those days are over because now you know better
tell them that they have no responsibility to follow someone blindly
based solely on a title
teach them to practice discernment
tell them authority and respect must be earned, and are not inherently deserved
teach them that there are good people and bad people
from every background, ethnicity and belief system
that they must align themselves with kindness
that there is no more room for divisiveness
you tell them that just because something is legal that doesn't mean it's right
you tell them to stand up, and fight
remind them of all the lawful atrocities
committed in the sick and twisted history of this violent country
that Rosa Parks righteously broke a law, and the world took notice
that Harriet Tubman is our modern day Moses
that women would not be allowed to vote,
and no one would have proposed another notion,
if the blessed rebels hadn't taken a stand
tell them love will win this war
but only if we remember that love is not just one unending cuddle puddle
but fierce, as a mother bear protecting her cubs
tell them that although this existence is damaged beyond repair,
they must not despair. there is possibility.
and we will willingly and willfully open ourselves to new ways of being
because the old way is not working, has never worked
and the world deserves better, and we're worth it
tell them they are not free while another suffers under enslavement
teach them that we are all limbs on one body
and we cannot chop off our own arm without deep suffering
teach them humility, but also to relearn to trust their intuition
and beg their forgiveness for unintentionally misleading them previously
tell them their gifts are useful
tell them they are beautiful
tell them THEY ARE THE TRUTH
This is a pretty good manifesto to start with.
As a whole 5 minute statement, or broken up into smaller segments, perfect for buttons, t-shirts, and motivational posters. Perfect for stenciling on sidewalks and scribbling on the subway walls and in the tenement halls.
Over time we need more manifestos like this, deliberately aimed at a child’s level of understanding, explaining what we stand for, what we have accomplished already, and what we will accomplish again once this temporary orange blip on the screen has faded into well-deserved obscurity.
Let’s get started. Let this moment be the first chapter.
And whenever you get discouraged, always remember, we outnumber them.
Previous TRUE BLUE REPORT diaries
Jan 23: Spy the Lie 101: How to enjoy watching Rcon spokesbot interviews, even KAC!
Jan 22: Why I prayed for the President* today
Jan 21: The only silver lining in the midst of these clouds
Inaugural (!) diary: Stop expecting Republicons to make sense