Category Archives: I

4 Ways the GOP Doesn’t Want You to Think about Immigration

Today’s release of the Republican Party’s principles for immigration reform brought no surprises. As Lakoff and Wehling have pointed out, extreme conservatives frame the issue as one about law enforcement.

If it’s a law-enforcement issue, only law-enforcement policies make sense in response. Even saying no to these policies unconsciously reinforces this definition of the issue.

Because the phrase illegal immigration comes from the law-enforcement frame, it’s very important that Framologists avoid it. Also off limits are alien, criminal and amnesty.

So how should Framologists think and speak about it? Let me count the ways:

  •  For Christians, they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Many biblical figures, including Jesus, migrate to other lands, and the Bible is full of exhortations to be kind to strangers and foreigners.
  • For the secular-minded, they are neighbors and fellow human beings far from home that need our protection. We should treat them as we would want to be treated in their situation.
  • We can turn the law-enforcement frame around. Many American employers violate labor laws by hiring people that don’t yet have a legal right to work in the USA. They often pay less than minimum wage and expose workers to dangerous working and/or living conditions. Therefore, these are illegal employers, and their employees are victims who deserve justice.
  • Many immigrants are fleeing poverty, disaster, and death caused in part by failed American policies–especially treaties like NAFTA and the Drug War. Therefore, they are economic refugees that need our protection. Because we value strength, caring, and wisdom, Americans change policy when it isn’t working and defend the dignity and human rights of everyone within our borders–no matter how they got here.

The illegal employer and economic refugee ideas derive from Lakoff, though I don’t remember the source. Do you?

How do you think Framologists should frame immigration?

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Net Neutrality: What’s at Stake?

Internet connection
There’s nothing to stop ISPs to slow down or block our access to websites on home Internet connections. Americans have never enjoyed net neutrality protection on mobile Internet connections.
Photo Credit: wheresmysocks via Compfight cc

As I understand last week’s court decision that overturned the FCC’s net neutrality rules, Internet service providers (ISPs) now can slow down or block access to any website they choose.

As pointed out in this On the Media story, ISPs’ interest in this power likely is to be able to charge other companies more money rather than trying to silence blogs such as this one. For example, Comcast might try to charge Netflix or Amazon more money to use its network.

Support Net Neutrality
Net neutrality is about freedom of speech, and we should talk about it that way.
Photo Credit: Brian Lane Winfield Moore via Compfight cc

But there’s nothing to stop them from squelching online speech.

Would Americans accept it if the US government claimed the power to slow down or block any website it chose? This illustrates George Lakoff’s principle of the conservation of government: that less government regulation means that corporations decide. In this case, it’s the big ISPs.

On the Media also points out that net neutrality has never applied to mobile Internet access, just home in-the-wall connections. But it should apply to any Internet access.

I’ve also heard net neutrality called Internet freedom. I think that’s better way to frame the issue because it makes clearer that freedom is at stake: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of commerce, at a minimum. While accurate, neutrality doesn’t carry that moral punch.

Another potential phrase is online equality.

How do you think Framologists should talk about equal bandwidth access?

Framing the Individual Mandate

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This refers to the expectation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that Americans that do not already have health insurance get it. Those that remain uninsured would pay a fine.

I think that supporters of the PPACA should avoid this phrase because it frames the expectation as big, bad government forcing people to do what they don’t want to do.

What if instead we frame having adequate health insurance as a civic duty? This duty helps ensure that all Americans can get the medical care we need . When we all have health insurance, we are taking care of both ourselves and our fellow Americans. That is right and responsible.

Shirking this duty would mean risking leaving medical bills unpaid and bankruptcy for ourselves. It also could mean higher costs for everyone else. This would be reckless and unfair. Because shirking imposes costs on others, it’s fair to charge a fine.

What difference would it make if we reframed this part of the PPACA from a mandate to a duty?
What difference would it make if we reframed this part of the PPACA from a mandate to a duty?

Instead of calling this part of PPACA the individual mandate, here are some potential alternatives:

  • The expectation of having health insurance (or health insurance expectation)
  • The duty of having health insurance (or health insurance duty)
  • The coverage expectation

What do you think this responsibility should be called?