Tag Archives: empathy

Authority Rules (or does it?)

Yesterday I gave a talk on political framing, the audience was mixed, but leaned heavily toward favoring environmental protection – which likely meant there was a majority of progressives in the room. One of the comments and questions that was put forward was, “is authority truly the ultimate conservative value?”

Those that are familiar with this blog or the works of George Lakoff know that authority and tradition are stated to be the primary and highest priority of values of conservative opinion. A few people questioned whether the word “authority” has positive or negative connotations itself – the word “authoritarian” seemed to lean negative, while the word “tradition” seemed to lean positive in the general frames they evoke. Labeling a school of thought -conservatism- with a word that conjures up negative feelings, might not be the best way to get folks from that school of thought to start talking, so it is worth a look.

First of all, when we talk about the conservative view on any issue, it is not necessarily describing the person with that view. You may have a conservative opinion about a particular policy, yet overall describe yourself -and behave as if – you are liberal, libertarian, or another political orientation. For any issue that “authority” does not feel right, I would propose that one is not very conservative in their stance.

For instance… Continue reading

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Nuclear Resistance – It’s da Bomb!

If you don’t take over your country now, the earth is doomed.” So says Helen Caldicott, Nobel prize nominee and long time nuclear crisis educator. She is the world’s most informed (and vocal) person on how radiation effects the human body. Thirty eight years after quitting the private sector, Dr. Caldicott is still traveling the globe trying to get the message out: radiation kills. Slowly for some, quicker for others, but radiation will build up in this planet and never go away (for human practical purposes). It is killing us now and will only concentrate more and more in our children and grandchildren. Radiation gets on the ground, into the water, and into the air, it is sucked into plants, eaten by animals and is concentrated more and more as it makes its way up the food chain – to land in human bellies. Radiation may incubate for years before causing a cancer so it is hard to trace it to a direct cause, but it only takes one one millionth of a gram of plutonium to create cancer.

Because we don’t know how to handle radiation in a safe manner, nuclear power and weapons must stop being created and the issue of waste must be focused on.

Helen says that if she could get a half an hour with Obama, she thinks she could convince him to turn away from nuclear power and perhaps begin disarmament. She wants the face time, but says that she alone can’t do it, she needs the American people to wake up and pressure the powers that be. Basically her message was the same that Obama had for the country before he took office – we cannot wait for a Savior if we want to change the way things are. Continue reading

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Etch-A-Sketch Values

An aide to the Romney campaign made a big mistake. Here is the quote:

“I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again.”

You’d think that with wars going on and all of the fireworks of a presidential campaign that it would be a more significant comment that shook up this primary season, but for Romney, this is trouble.

Unless you were living in a cave eight years ago, you likely remember the flip-flop fiasco of the Kerry campaign. At least the Kerry camp didn’t start their own demise, the Romney campaign might not be able to say the same thing. I’m not ready to write Romney off, I believe he will be the nominee and that we will still have a fight on our hands, no matter how good it should look for Obama. No Republican nominee should be dismissed, they are all serious contenders because they all can take advantage of our election system using unlimited dollars from anyone they’d like.

However, this might be Romney’s flip flop moment. Continue reading

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This American Life

 

Lana has four kids. She works at the local elementary school in the front office, she keeps the books for the student body. She goes to church and encourages her kids to be involved in extra-curricular activities like martial arts, ballet, and art club. Lana doesn’t keep up with politics, but she votes in every election – she feels it is her duty. Continue reading

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Bell of Liberty

It’s been a good week for right wing media when you consider any publicity is good publicity. Of course there is the Rush flap, but another “blockbuster” was supposedly going to make Obama’s re-election dead in the water. Andrew Breitbart, before his unexpected demise, promised a video clip that would ruin Obama. Posthumously his website has released the so-called damaging footage to an underwhelmed audience. Different news sources have pointed out that the footage was not “hidden”, it had been aired as late as 2008, and the “blow” it delivers to Obama’s campaign will probably be weathered just fine.

The truth is that the information called attention to in the ‘Derrick Bell” video is info that may further piss off his current crop of haters, but it does very little to shock or offend his current supporters. The big deal about this video is that Obama introduced Derrick Bell – a controversial figure in the arena of race and politics – and seems to know this person!

I think the line that the Breitbart site is pushing is, “white liberals are oppressors”. Perhaps they think that a statement like that coming from a right wing news site will turn the tide of opinion against Obama. There is something that Breitbart and his colleagues really don’t get about liberals – they love to learn.

Continue reading

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