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Monday, February 28, 2011

3/1 Meetup: One Good Reading of Lakoff and Hartmann Deserves Another

This month's DFA-DFNM Meetup is set for tomorrow, Tuesday, March 1, at 7:00 PM at the Social Hall of the First Unitarian Church located on the SW corner of Carlisle and Comanche in Albuquerque. The group will get to participate in a special workshop presented by Janet Resnick and Lisa Franzen on strengthening the liberal, progressive movement using effective messaging based on the linguistic framing principles of George Lakoff. To join the Meetup group and/or RSVP, click here.

If there's one thing that right wingers are beating us on, it's messaging -- they have become masters at simplifying and framing complex issues so that they strongly impact people's emotional cores and speak to their innermost values. Janet and Lisa have been working within a group that has been exploring framing and its applications in political rhetoric. Tomorrow, they will share what they've learned and how to apply these principles to everyday interactions in order to be persuasive and effective in advocating for liberal positions.

Workshop participants will learn how to communicate in a way that successfully conveys and gains support for progressive values and positions. Lakoff argues that one of the reasons liberals have had difficulty since the 1980s is that they have not been as aware of their own guiding metaphors, and have too often accepted conservative terminology framed in a way to promote authoritarian values.

Lakoff insists that liberals must cease using terms like partial birth abortion and tax relief because they are manufactured specifically to allow the possibilities of only certain types of opinions. Tax relief, for example, implies explicitly that taxes are an affliction, something someone would want "relief" from. To use the terms of another metaphoric worldview, Lakoff insists, is to unconsciously support it. Liberals must support linguistic think tanks in the same way that conservatives do if they are going to succeed in appealing to those in the country who share their metaphors.

As Janet Resnick explains:

"It would be a comfort to us all if the events in Wisconsin continued to inspire the liberal movement through the next election cycle and ushered in a new political bottom line where universal health care is seen as a requirement for economic stability, Fox News fires Glen Beck and hires Keith Olbermann, Sara Palin decides to go back for a degree in International Studies -- at Berkley, and the Tea Party tells the Koch brothers they can keep their money because campaign finance reform is the next bill they will support in Congress.

"Ok, then I woke up.

"Indeed, there is some invigoration of the liberal side -- yay -- but how successful it will be, how much impact it will have and for how long, remains to be seen. Let us not be deluded: there is a massive, barroom brawl ahead. It’s not about a singular issue. It is about the fundamental difference between liberal and neo-conservative values. In this country, arguable in most of the industrial world, the polling results lean left or right at any given moment. The fluctuations in public opinion make outcomes of any poll an imprecise science. Often, the deck is stacked. Wordsmith for the right, Frank Luntz, convinced reporters at Fox News to use the phrase “government option” in place of “public option” because the frames that were evoked with the use of the word “government” provided the negative spin they were after.

"The way we talk about our values, and how our values determine the policies we support, help others to build an understanding and appreciation for liberalism. The neo-conservatives have been perfecting their arguments for decades. Needless to say, the liberal side of the debate has a lot of catching up to do.

"The presentation on Tuesday, March 1st, will share how our group of five people are learning about, and using framing, to create more effective communication."

Note: Lakoff just wrote an excellent piece on the real issues that are at play in the Wisconsin battle over unions and collective bargaining. You can read it here.

February 28, 2011 at 12:15 PM in DFNM - Albq, Events, MeetUp, Progressivism | Permalink