Rachel Maddow recently discussed the role of framing in the latest controversy surrounding the Blunt-Rubio Amendment, as well as the trans-vaginal ultra-sound initiatives being pushed throughout the country by radical right wing Governors. For those of you who are not familiar, both of these efforts amount to an assault on women and involve using the power of the State and Federal Government to advance a religious ideology at the expense of women’s constitutional rights, not to mention their dignity.
The trans-vaginal ultra-sound legislation being debated in many states is an invasive procedure, some have called “state rape”, since the power of the State will force doctors to use a trans-vaginal probe against the will of women patient’s seeking abortions. A doctor’s refusal to carry out this unnecessary medical procedure is punishable by a fine and jail time.
Whether or not women are subjected to this unnecessary medical procedure is not left up to the patient or the doctor to decide. Instead, Conservative “politicians in Washington” get to decide how woman must behave based on their religious ideology. In this sense, Conservative politicians “know better” than the patient and the doctor, and therefore, “a bureaucrat is getting between you and your doctor.” Sound familiar? Each of the “frames” above has been used repeatedly against Democrats by the GOP in their on-going war on women’s rights and Democracy in this country.
Here’s how it works. The GOP hires manipulative pollsters like Frank Luntz to give them advice on how to craft and then frame their talking points in such a way to manipulate people into supporting their radical agenda, which is based on religious fundamentalism. Francis Schaeffer, a former religious fundamentalist, who helped found the religious right in this country, has publicly stated that there is only 1 political party in the United States, the Democratic Party. The right wing, he claims, is a religious institution. This makes sense when you consider the primary focus of the Republican party, or GOP today.
The modern day GOP is not concerned with the rights and well being of women, workers, immigrants, and especially minorities, and could care less if the average American citizen gets a job. Instead, they are concerned with restricting women’s rights to contraception, which they call “religious freedom”, stripping away worker rights by enacting “Right to work” laws, blaming “illegal immigrants” for stealing jobs that they ship overseas and call “free trade”, disproportionately locking up “welfare recipients” otherwise known as minorities, in addition to other cultural war issues affecting the health and well being of everyone who is not like “them.” They want to live in a world that forces others to adopt a strict adherence to God’s law, as interpreted by the radical Evangelical Christians, of course, who know better! After all, we live in a “Christian nation” don’t you know!!
Interestingly, Rick Santorum and other radical right wing ideologues believe this invasive assault on women’s rights is a “religious freedom” issue. Or do they? As illustrated above, this specific language is an example of a frame. The strategy is not only to craft language that serves to manipulate others into believing what they believe, but the trick is to also “frame” Liberals for actions being committed by Conservatives.
President Obama, for instance, is being framed for imposing his “Obamacare” values on others, making it seem as if he is the one who “knows better”, which is what Rick Santorum has repeatedly done in public by blaming the President for his own actions. In reality, Rick Santorum is the one who believes he “knows better” and is imposing his religious ideology on the rest of us. Oh, and yes, Rick Santorum happens to be an Evangelical Christian.
So, the next time you hear any of these “frames”, remember, they are being used on purpose, and the opposite of what is said in the frame is true. This is why the GOP has earned the reputation for being the George Orwell Party.