As a kid, I heard fellow Americans use the word liberal as an insult. They even called liberal “the L word” as if it were an obscenity. When in high school I began to find my political voice, some classmates called me “The Liberal” behind my back.
I wish that bullying based on political opinion were only my problem. Unfortunately, the demonization has gotten so intense that today Congress can hardly pass a bill or even fund basic government activities because that seems to some to require compromise with “evil.” This is wrong because America has always been a nation with a wide range of opinion. Freedom of opinion is one our most cherished rights and values. Love of country means accepting–even embracing–this fact.
The only way to stop the bullies is to stand up to them. To do that, liberals and progressives have to find our voices and the courage to raise them. Rather than become bullies ourselves, I hope we will do this while respecting our opponents as human beings and fellow Americans even as we refuse to accept bullying behavior. A powerful tool for this is the very one our opponents have used against us in the soundbite age: framing.
I learned about framing from the work of George Lakoff, author of the best-selling Don’t Think of an Elephant and other important books about language, the brain, and politics. Although I draw inspiration from his work and will try to credit him and other writers when due, this blog is not affiliated with him. Please do read his columns on the Huffington Post
My background is in international development and social work. I teach about framing and write letters to the editor using what I’ve learned. But the dire condition of our politics calls for far more, and there’s no way I could do it alone. My aims for this blog are as follows:
- to encourage wider and deeper discussion and understanding of framing,
- to think together with other Americans how to express our values and deepest convictions clearly and convincingly, and
- to act on what we learn.
That’s what Framology is about. I’m looking forward to learning from you and with you!
Curtis Bryant, MSW