I was watching a re-run of Stephen Colbert last night, the one where he consults with Republican strategist Frank Luntz regarding the message that Colbert Super-Pac wants to sell to the American people: Corporations are people, too.
Luntz is a master of the summing up complex concepts into soundbites.
Let me rephrase that: he’s the master of summing up noxious concepts into palatable soundbites and vice versa (for example, he came up with “death taxes” for estate taxes.)
His phrasing evokes emotional responses. He’s very good at that.
We have to get better. And here’s where this ties in to the current situation in this country.
Occupy Wall Street terrifies the people in charge. After all, there are tens of thousands of people nationwide who are camping, day in and day out, to protest the inherent inequality of income and the inherent unfairness of the US tax code.
I’ve been straining to recall when a Teabagger rally on similar topics lasted for more than a few hours, and that was in clement weather in the spring and summer. These kids have made it through a freak snowstorm and are still hanging in there.
How could the powers that be not be afraid?
Think about that imagery: the right, via their useful idiots and tools, has tried to cast OWS as a bunch of spoiled white lefty brats who’s mommies and daddies cut them out of the will because they were dope-addled and sexually promiscuous (itself, a pretty powerful trope: the scary hippy.)
That imagery, which had some legs at first because of the way the news reported the story (up until the pepper-spray incident,) as a bunch of disgruntled interns and low-level clerical workers with English degrees getting fired and thrown out of their apartments, sort of falls apart after the first week of camp-outs, much less the subsequent brute force by the police, the cooling temperatures, the world-wide solidarity, and the general genial mien taken by the protestors.
The right couldn’t just mash this into the dirt and cover it over, is what I’m saying.
The imagery the OWS folks have out there is now too powerful, and although the colder weather will likely lessen in its impact, it can always be picked up again in the spring. It’s an emotional, gut protest, and people have responded to it.
This is the kind of imagery and argument we need to raise elsewhere. Right now, the craftsmen of the right, like Luntz, have co-opted the dialogue. We need to get it back. But how?
We need to look to marry language to logic, but also to emotions. We need arguments that are so simple and so powerful that they defy rebuttal.
Let’s take the abortion argument for a moment. The single biggest protest in America is the annual March For Life. March for Life attracts upwards of a quarter-million people consistently.
Abortion is an emotional matter for them. We can cite statistics until we’re blue in the face, like how the US birth rate has not declined one bit despite all these “millions of dead babies” (their term,) or we can talk about the improvement in the quality of living the babies which are eventually born not to teenage mothers but to women with jobs and careers and long-term partners will have. Not one second of these arguments will sway a single mind on the right.
And those are perfectly logical arguments. But why not tie those to the alternative: women who spend twenty years in servitude (slavery even) because they’ve made a mistake.
Why not provide imagery, in the form of a counter-protest: get five thousand women to march in torn dirty muslin smocks, chained at the neck and feet with dolls dangling from the other end of those chains?
After all, if the scare tactic of showing photos of an aborted fetus is within bounds for the religious right, then equally alarming and disturbing imagery ought to be utilized in response.
We need to make an emotional case to the American people about the progressive agenda. We don’t have much time and there is much to be done. The nation is heading down a bleak path, even if we can all pull together and we must all pull together or things will get dire, indeed.
By actor212 from the Agonist.
Also, this is a wonderful example of why mainstream party-line conservatives are not ever allowed to accuse anyone of racism in any way.
And here is the next thing that will sink our economy, and it’s exactly the same as the last one.
If you were wondering what the government was doing to punish criminal banks and protect the people, I found your answer.
Not everything happens at the federal level. City planners can be shitheads too.
Great quote here, little background. Pretty much every Republican candidate right now is going full-bore pro-choice, no exceptions no exemptions. Specifically, most of them have stated that abortion is wrong and should be illegal even in cases of rape or incest or health issues. So…
Speaking as a Democrat running against a no-exceptions Republican, Westen suggests how to properly frame this issue:
"My opponent puts the rights of rapists above the rights of their victims, guaranteeing every rapist the right to choose the mother of his child. What he’s proposing is a rapists’ bill of rights."
This is the logical entailment of the Republicans’ “culture of life.” Perhaps the most fundamental right of a woman is to choose whose children she will bear. Yet in the Republican morality tale, if a woman is raped, she must have her rapist’s baby. She can give up the child — who is her own flesh and blood, mingled with the DNA of her rapist — or she can wake up every morning and see the eyes of her rapist in her child. Those are her two choices. Tell that to the father of a teenage girl in rural Virginia and see how he responds. It is a deeply repugnant, and deeply immoral, position. But its repugnance is only apparent when you make the associative links.
Here is another example:
"My opponent believes that if a sixteen-year-old girl is molested by her father, she should be forced by the government to have his child, and if she doesn’t want to, she should be forced by the government to go to the man who raped her and ask for his consent."
To these two examples from Westen, I would add a third of my own:
"My opponent would institute a death sentence for women who have serious medical problems with their pregnancies — problems that medical science has known how to solve for decades. Instead of allowing a doctor to save a woman’s life, my opponent would put not only the government between that woman and her doctor, he would also put a policeman and a jailer in the way as well. Women will die if my opponent has his way — women whose lives could quite easily be saved. That’s the bottom line, and I find it completely unacceptable."
Also, someone is paying NY homeless to go to Zuccotti Park and “mess things up”. And the Foxers are trying to make this an ACORN issue. Somehow.
BTW, airport scanners use X-rays. Where’s the lead aprons? Experts estimate that between 6 and 100 people get cancer per year from airport security. Where’s their awareness month?