STOP Framing "us"

How a select few of "them" are Framing all of "us"

Archive for the tag “conservative agenda”

George Lakoff on the Santorum Strategy: Why we’re all in trouble if this strategy is successful in 2012.

George Lakoff wrote an article recently in the Huffington Post describing what he calls the Santorum Strategy.  He began this article by stating, “The Santorum Strategy is not just about Santorum.  It is about pounding the most radical conservative ideas into the public mind by constant repetition during the Republican presidential campaign…It is about guaranteeing a radical conservative future for America.”

A perfect illustration of pounding radical conservative ideas in our heads can be seen by examining the speech Rick Santorum gave in Missouri after winning the Minnesota primary.  (Pay particular attention to the amount of times the words listening, he knows better, rights, and freedom were used)

Rick Santorum began his speech by thanking your average Fox news viewer and all of the “smart idiots” for helping to build the conservative party.  “Tonight was a victory for the voices of our party, conservatives and Tea party people, who are out there every single day in the vineyards building the conservative movement in this country, building the base of the Republican Party, and building a voice for freedom in this land.”

This was immediately followed up by continuously repeating language to evoke the “frame” that President Obama “knows better” than you.   This is illustrated by the overwhelming number of references being made to President Obama not listening to the voice of the American people (14X’s), because he knows better than you (5X’s), and is using the Government to run your lives by taking away your rights (10X’s), and freedoms, (12X’s).

In addition to the linguistic framing mentioned above, Rick Santorum is also literally “framing” President Obama for his actions, since it is Rick Santorum who believes he knows better.  I would argue that this too, is part of the Santorum Strategy, since it represents another common tactic the George Orwell Party (GOP) uses against the American people to convince them of a radical conservative view of reality.

In order to fully appreciate the Orwellian nature of this literal frame, take a look at what happens when we make a couple of substitutions to this frame.

Rick Santorum is not listening to the voice of the American people because he knows better than you and is using his radical conservative evangelical religious beliefs to run your lives by taking away your rights and freedoms.

The problem, as pointed out by George Lakoff, is that continuous repetition of language expressing radical conservative values leads to more and more people accepting those values and becoming politically active, as alluded to by the opening lines in Rick Santorum’s speech.  The unfortunate reality according to Lakoff is that, “Liberals tend to underestimate the importance of public discourse and its effect on the brains of our citizens. All thought is physical. You think with your brain. You have no alternative. Brain circuitry strengthens with repeated activation. And language, far from being neutral, activates complex brain circuitry that is rooted in conservative and liberal moral systems.”  (For more on these individual moral systems, see the article)

In reference to how Conservatives were able to get a majority of Americans to vote against President Obama’s health care plan, for instance, George Lakoff points to the Conservative effort to re-frame this issue by claiming that this plan will lead to a “Government takeover” and will include “Death panels.”

As indicated by George Lakoff, President Obama’s health care plan had strong public support.  This is primarily due to fact that it helped solve the major problems people experience when dealing with health insurance companies, such as their refusal to cover pre-existing conditions, and denying coverage in order to reap enormous profits at the expense of people’s health.

George Lakoff notes that conservatives never argued against any of the realities associated with the provisions designed to help the American people, “Instead, they re-framed; they made a moral case against “Obamacare.” Their moral principles were freedom and life, and they had language to go with them. Freedom: “government takeover.” Life: “death panels.”Republicans at all levels repeated them over and over, and convinced millions of people who were for the policy provisions of the Obama plan to be against the plan as a whole. They changed the public discourse, changed the brains of the electorate — especially the “independents” — and won in 2010.

Bottom line: If the Santorum strategy is successful in 2012, we’re all in trouble, since our rights & freedoms will be taken away by the very conservatives who mistakenly “frame” us to believe we should blame Liberal Democrats, (who are actually trying to prevent such actions from occurring).  The only way to ensure that freedom and liberty are protected is to advocate for a progressive vision for all Americans, not a radical conservative future advocated by the modern day GOP, where only the “privileged sector” prevails

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David Cay Johnston explains why it pays to be a bus driver in Sweden: Made possible by the ‘S’ word – “Socialism”

You hear it every day on right-wing talk radio, Fox news, and even by Conservative politicians, who repeatedly say that we are headed down a path toward “Socialism”, or President Obama is a Socialist, and favors Socialist policies.  Republican Presidential candidates are also chiming in.  Mitt Romney accused President Obama of adopting policies based on what he called, “European style Socialism”, and Newt Gingrich claimed that the Obama administration is a “Secular Socialist machine.”

As pointed out by Peter Dreier, Distinguished professor of politics at Occidental College, there hasn’t been a significant socialist movement in this country for decades.   However, “After Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, the word “socialism” started making a comeback. But it wasn’t because the socialists were gaining momentum. It was because Obama’s opponents — the Republican Party, the Tea Party, the right-wing blogosphere, the Chamber of Commerce, and conservative media gurus like Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh — labeled anything Obama proposed, including his modest health care reform proposal, as “socialism.”

The “Socialism” frame is one based on fear.   The modern day George Orwell Party (GOP) is trying to convince the American people that a distribution of wealth that disproportionately benefits the super-wealthy elite, (those in the top 0.01%) at the expense of everyone else is fine, but anything that remotely resembles a benefit to average working families is condemned as supporting the ‘S’ word.

The use of the word “Socialism” in reference to President Obama is intended to evoke the image of a totalitarian dictatorship, where the rights and freedoms of the people are not protected.

This is the image that the radical right wing wants people to associate with our current President.  However, as illustrated in a recent article by Peter Dreier, this strategy may backfire!

In reference to the Pew Research poll released in December 2011, it was determined that the majority of Americans (77%) agreed that “there is too much power in the hands of a few rich people and corporations.”  In addition 83% of 18-29 year olds shared this view.

Joseph Schwartz, a Temple University political scientist made it clear that “Many young people associate capitalism with inequality, big corporations, and poverty,” and “If young people have any image of socialism at all, it is probably northern Europe, particularly Scandinavia. They know that northern Europe has less poverty, more equality, and more social mobility.”

For a realistic picture of what life is actually like in countries that adopt “European style socialism”, take a look at David Cay Johnston’s recent interview describing how it pays to be a bus driver in Sweden.

This is made possible, as David Cay Johnston points out in this clip because:

“They organize their economy to provide what Adam Smith said in the wealth of nations an economy should do.  Any policy that benefits the majority must be good policy.”

“We organize our economy on the theory that the very, very richest among us, the multi-billionaires don’t have enough, and unless we give them more our economy cannot grow.  That’s just nonsense!” Hence, the reason we are being “framed” to believe socialism is bad, and capitalism is good.

 

How and Why the GOP is “framing” the cultural issues of our time in order to support their radical agenda.

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.

Rachel Maddow Hits the nail on the head and discovers “Framing” is the reason the GOP is pushing radical legislation throughout the country attacking women’s rights.

Rachel Maddow began last nights show discussing Mitt Romney’s flip-flop on what is becoming the highly controversial Blunt Amendment.

When asked about the amendment being put forth by Blunt and Rubio to allow employers to ban female contraception, Mitt Romney replied,  “I’m not for the bill, I’m not going there”, he said in an interview.

Interestingly, when he discovered this particular amendment was part of the Conservatives long-term goal, (discussed below) he quickly released a statement recanting his previous comment, by claiming, “I didn’t understand his question, of course I support the Blunt Amendment.”

The Blunt-Rubio –Amendment would not only allow employers to ban contraception for women, but would also let employers pick and choose what type of health coverage their employees are allowed to receive.   As pointed out by Rachel Maddow, “Your boss decides whether or not you get it!”

There are ALL of these reasons, Rachel says, why Republicans should not pick this fight right, which she explains one by one in turn.

–       Hypocrisy of Republicans flip-flopping on this issue

–       Polling data showing people are against it

–       Distraction from what Republicans should be focusing on, jobs!

Rachel says, “They know all these things.  Why are they doing it anyway?  When they decided to pursue the Blunt amendment in the Senate and lose on it and then keep going on it.  Why are they doing that? “What is it that is more advantageous to them in pursuing all of this stuff, then all of its obvious downsides?”

“I think its framing.  I think it’s the overall long-term conservative goal of framing anything that Democrats are for as a Government intrusion into your life that you are going to resent.”  BINGO!!

She then proceeded to discuss the manipulator himself, Frank Luntz, who advises Republicans what to say and how to say it to convince people to support their radical agenda by framing Democrats for actions the GOP is guilty of committing.  Frank Luntz told republicans, “Don’t be against reform, be against a Government take-over of healthcare, be against Government intrusion into your lives.”

As pointed out by Rachel, if the language used in the healthcare debate worked, then why not use this language for birth control too. “Don’t say its about contraception, don’t say its about women at all, say its about a big Government takeover, say its about Government intrusion, say its about Government pushing its way into your space.”

This is EXACTLY what they are doing.  For a visual of this framing effort in action, take a look at this MUST SEE clip!  Eugene Robinson, political analyst on the program said, “you can’t really claim Government intrusion if your doing the intruding.”

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