Daily Dose: Progressives top priority ought to be connecting with conservatives - on values

August 8, 2017

At a time when the President is threatening North Korea with "fire and fury", it is even clearer that the future of our society, democracy, and nation depends on "we the people". While people seem to be more divided politically than ever, there is strong evidence that more and more people are looking for something they "feel" is missing. This presents progressives with a unique opportunity to reach out and connect with conservatives, not on a laundry list of issues, but on something deeper - values we all share, especially empathy.

 

George Lakoff recently wrote a brilliant blog  where he identifies the central metaphor of the Trump presidency (and indeed, his psyche) as himself (The President) as the nation. This is an important observation, as it provides us with the blueprint of how to effectively counter this powerful metaphor that is so dominant in people's worldview. The strategy of pointing out the fact that it IS a metaphor, then providing people with an alternative frame of "we the people" as the nation starts to get people in touch with their empathetic frame. Because if you are thinking about caring about the nation (all of us), you can't think of blindly accepting the authoritarian's self-interested worldview. 

 

Connecting with our conservative friends and neighbors through empathy accomplishes another important facet of making a better future a reality - it helps us reach biconceptual conservatives who accept, understand, and care about "we the people" as the nation. And there are many of those, as a recent article in The Guardian points out. 

 

You will find that in every case cited by the article, even as conservatives "think" they are being consistent with "conservative values" in their rejection of Trump, they are actually evoking the idea of caring for the nation (all of us) as they would a family. And in each case, that is more important than the "President as nation" metaphor.

 

Biconceptual conservatives provide us with an opportunity to fill the void they are feeling with empathy towards others, and to evoke the idea of "we the people" as the nation, and therefore family in need of protection and empowerment. As Lakoff points out, patriotism is about the nation, the people. We have a responsibility to the freedom and prosperity of the people as we do for our family and ourselves. Evoking this frame provides the foundation to connect with biconceptual conservatives which transcends any issue.

 

Tomorrow - More on Wisconsin Governor's race for 2018!

 

 

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