This state of affairs should never have come to pass. Health care should never have been a market issue. The Constitution gives Congress the right to "provide for the... general welfare of the United States." [Do the facts that the 114th Republican dominated Congress, io be in power from 2015-2016 opposing Obama's every move, has already and will continue to try harder to undermine the ACA and the "general welfare" consitute an impeachable offense that in a fair minded court of law would remove these offenders from public office?] That [constitutional] right should have been, and should be, the moral and conceptual basis of health care law [and all other laws undermined by the radical-right]. But because it was not, because the [HEALTH CARE] issue was placed with a market frame, the general welfare of the United States is [now] in [grave] danger. Do we care about each other? Are we proud that we have contributed to the liver transplants of those who need them? Are we proud to save the lives of our fellow Americans on a daily basis? Will we recognize that, without the Public [i.e. without the common goal of the Greater Public Good], we have no reasonable private lives or private enterprise?
[These details of the consequences of "reasoning solely within the market frame metaphor" [that the radical right prefer] need to be emphasized by [REAL] progressives [like the Greens in the Green Party of the USA and repeated] over and over which as of mid October 2014 they were not. Neither did the Democrats and hence their loss of both houses of Congress in November 2014.] And w Will we recognize that the dismantling of the Public [Good, i.e. of those social and governmental institutions and norms which have benefited the Greater Public Good for almost a century] exposes us to corporate [private, privatized, unregulated, and maximumly monetized] control over our lives -- not for our [personal and collective greater] well-being but [solely] for [greater] corporate profits, and [profits made by unrequlated and increasingly unethical business practices, practices] not under the [monitoring and] control of a government we elect and can change but under the control of corporate managers [and their expensive lobbyists in Congress and state legislatures who tend to be imperious in the extreme and all of whom] we did not elect and cannot change? [IS THIS WHY YOU FEEL SO MUCH MORE POWERLESS LATELY?]
We [authors Lakoff and Wehling] are writing this book [originally for other Democrats of like-mind] because the centrality of this issue is not now in public discourse [even in October 2014 or at this re-editing by Green JGW in March 2015], and we hope the [progressives in the] Democratic Party [but also the Real Progressives in The GREEN PARTY and in other real progressive parties in the U.S.] and its [all such real progressive] candidates bring it [i.e. these more compassionately framed issues] to the fore. To do so, they [we all] need to use language appropriate to the moral views they [we real progressives] believe in.
Language is not a matter of "mere words" or word-smithing. Words mean things [ideas, concepts, ways to limit or expand one's abilities to think about things]. They are defined by conceptual frames. In politics those frames are morally based. They are the same morally based frames that under lie -- and precede -- our [debating an making of public] policies. To discuss political language is to discuss morality and policy.
This fundamental truth contradicts a long-standing myth about political communication, a myth that comes from the advertising world. The word messaging is defined of that myth, namely, that morality and policy are independent of messaging. In this myth messaging is just word-smithing, finding the "words that work" to sell the policy, conceptualized as a product being [and to be] marketed.
There are two problems with this idea. First, communication and policy are based on the same moral frames. Policy doesn't come first, followed by communication, as the health care example shows. Second, the messaging myth is fundamentally undemocratic, placing politics in a business marketing frame, where any marketing that "sells" is sanctioned and preferred [and the marketing process is thus off-limits from criticism or challenges]. In this view, citizens are [merely] consumers of politics, [not more active participants in the shaping of those politics,] and politicians are [merely] looking for ways to "sell" them ideas [thereby insulting the intelligence and good intentions of "the masses" that are the electorate they would sell a bag of rotten fruit]. This is in direct contradiction with the Democratic understanding of how democracy should work, a view that is shared by most Americans[, those huddled masses devoutly hoping to be free, have greater opportunities in life to live life better and to be more prosperous].
Our [Lakoff's and Wehling's] view is communication [should be] based on moral and conceptual transparency. [Values completly ignored and never mentioned by the US mass media outlets.] Know your values and say what you believe. Will this work [with under two years left in the 2016 election cycle? It didn't work in 2014.] It depends on how well it [the consciousness raising about framing and how to re-frame] is done [and by how many]. Moreover we believe that most Americans care about their fellow citizens. That is the moral basis of Democratic thought, and we think the public will respond to it.
Finally, a caveat. This book is not intended to be exhaustive. It's too short, and a book much bigger would probably be too long. We will cover a great deal [in subsequent chapters of this book] but far from the full range of topics. We jump in with the most pressing challenges facing Democrats and with hands-on communication advice. [Whereas JGW, editor, highlighter, and annotator of this Introduction, has much more to write about these practical applications continuing to do so primarily on this CAGI web site.]
Next [in Lakoff's books] we [and they of a Democrat liberal-mind will] explore the effects, especially the hidden effects, of extreme conservatism. Third, we [will] turn to [and elaborate upon the] ideas that Democrats need but that are not yet in public discourse, along with the new language needed to express those ideas. Finally our "Phrasebook for Democrats" covers the most controversial areas in current politics, providing relevant background and introducing new ways to talk. [Meanwhile we Greens like this editor, JGW, will be awaiting those books to rephrase them all in Real Progressive language and with real progressive moral and political values that get more Greens elected to public office. For the further progressive education of the CAGI web site reader who has now read this edited introduction please note the existence of many articles and examples of reframing and of "better progressive slogans," all be they not that well organized or presented. That is my job, primarily, to make the material on CAGI more easily find-able and accessible as the site users wish to best filter and see that content to acheive their unique learning goals.]
Our [the authors'+ JGW's] job here is to go beyond policy and punditry and the same old [Democrat and Progressive] ideas [and ways of expressing ourselves]. We hope it [the revised, more progressive Introduction and the Lakoff-Wehling book] will change the way you see, understand, and discuss American politics.
[And for that larger, longer editing and rewriting effort, more editing help will be needed. So the more thoughtful and articulate Green progressives who read this, please sign up for accounts on this web site a.s.a.p. so we can work together in 2015 and 2016 to improve Lakoff's and Wehling's ideas for the benefit of real progressives in the Green Party of the US if not also of Greens world-wide.]
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