The quote below comes from George Lakoff’s book Don’t Think of an Elephant, originally published in 2004 and updated in 2014. Called the “father of framing” by The New York Times, Lakoff explains how framing is about ideas―ideas that come before policy, ideas that make sense of facts, ideas that are proactive not reactive, positive not negative, ideas that need to be communicated out loud every day in public.
Feel free to substitute ‘ RVSD/Stand” for ” conservatives and “educational alternatives proponents” for liberals. Editorial comments in bold italics.
” Their method for achieving this [getting the poor and middle class to vote against their economic interests or the uninformed] has been the cultural civil war – a civil war carried out with everything short of live ammunition – pitting Americans with strict father morality (called conservatives) against Americans with nurturant parent morality, who are portrayed as threatening their way of life and the cultural, religious and personal identities of the conservatives.
“Conservative political and intellectual leaders faced a challenge in carrying out their goals. They represented an economic and political elite, but they were seeking the votes of middle- and lower class working people. They needed, therefore, to identify conservative ideas as populist and liberal/progressive ideas as elitist – even though the reverse was true. They faced a massive framing problem, a problem that required a change in everyday language and thought. But strict father morality gave them an important advantage: It suggests that the wealthy have earned their wealth, that they are good people who deserve it.” (e.g., people who can afford private school as a legitimate way to opt out of the public commons)
“Through language they have branded liberals (whose policies are populist) as effete elitist, unpatriotic spendthrifts. At the same time, they have branded conservatives as populists….Their radio talk show hosts – warriors all – have adopted the style of hellfire preachers. But the message is the same: The hated liberals, who are effete, elitist, unpatriotic spendthrifts, are threatening American culture and values, and have to be fought vigorously and continuously on every front. It is a threat to the very security of the nation, as well as morality, religion, the family, and everything “real” Americans hold dear. Their positions on wedge issues…reveal the “treachery” of liberals. The wedge issues…are vital in what they represent: a strict father attitude to the world.
“Without the cultural civil war, the conservatives (and Bagley/Capron/Stand) cannot win.