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Susan C. Strong, Ph.D., is the founder and executive director of the Metaphor Project. She is also the author of our new book, MOVE OUR MESSAGE: HOW TO GET AMERICA'S EAR, available on our website. The mission of the Metaphor Project is helping Democrats, liberals and progressives learn how to mainstream their messages by framing them as part of the best American story.
Say "Build a common sense American future!"
This article makes the case that our best tactic now and going into 2018 is calling for a "common sense" U.S. future. The piece includes specific examples of why this is the right way to go. It also demonstrates how to use future GOP/Trump inanities to make this case.
Monday, April 3, 2017(1 comments)
Framing Our March Signs to Persuade
This article provides a complete mini-tutorial in framing our messages to persuade by "speaking American," whether we are making signs for our protest marches, lobbying our legislators, or doing voter outreach.
Monday, January 30, 2017(5 comments)
Getting Heard Beyond the Choir
This article lays out a set of language tools for reaching beyond those already resisting Trump/Bannon's outrages now, to Trump voters who will also be unhappy soon. To succeed, we will need more than "after the fact" resistance from progressives.
Saturday, December 3, 2016(1 comments)
Say: "Clean Energy Jobs Now!"
This article suggests an updated approach to framing climate protection action now, given the Trump victory and the nature of the GOP-dominated Congress we have now. The blog contains framing language suggestions for focusing on clean energy jobs that stay home in the U.S., and could appeal to Trump voters. Getting them to lobby for these is the best outcome!
Saturday, October 15, 2016(2 comments)
Re Climate Action: "Protect & Prevent" or "Make War & Control"?
This article suggests better framing for our climate action messages to the general public than "make war" and "control." It's based on a review of the most up-to-date framing research for this issue, and it argues that using positive incentives will help a President Hillary Clinton much better.
Tuesday, September 6, 2016(5 comments)
The Hope: Grass Roots Bipartisans at Work Right Now
This long form report about the real grass roots wave of bipartisan renewal happening all over our country right now is very timely, because it shows that the bitter political paralysis in D.C. can change. The article contains many links for direct access to contacts and info about how local, regional, and state citizens are doing it.
Saturday, June 25, 2016(3 comments)
Redeem Our Nation's Honor!
This article proposes a frame that could express simply what we need to do about the rising tide of hate and intolerance in our country: redeem our nation's honor. The article includes links to a number of excellent resources for expanding on that work, as well as suggestions for ways to frame various parts of messages we need.
Friday, April 15, 2016(3 comments)
America 2016: Death Spiral or Rebirth?
This article makes the case for the idea that America is actually experiencing a difficult rebirth process right now, as the 2016 presidential election campaign has stirred up much that has been lying dormant for too long. The article is full of examples of the many constituencies now being active in the rebirth process.
Monday, February 29, 2016(4 comments)
Say "Americans deserve a fair market."
This article makes the case that we the people must start telling each other the whole "fair market" story. We need to do this to stop the Right wing, corporate oligarchy, and conventional economists from pushing their "free market" trojan horse any further. Flint, MI shows the lengths they will go to to get rid of the regulations that protect the health and safety of Americans. Privatization of it all is their goal.
Thursday, January 28, 2016(9 comments)
Two American Dreams: Poison or Power?
This article explores the two very different American dreams that live in our country, and the two sides of those dreams, in order to suggest ways to draw on their strengths for true progress.
Saturday, November 21, 2015(1 comments)
Framing Climate Change Action Now: An Update
This piece summarizes the best of new, expert sources on framing climate change for the public and framing climate change action for everyone. It also contains my suggestions for framing the three major prongs of our climate action strategy in a way that I hope can help movement organizers work together smoothly.
Friday, October 2, 2015(10 comments)
"Corporate Welfare:" Kidnapped and Brainwashed
This article points to a new Right wing framing strategy closely embraced by the Kochs to hijack progressive frames like "corporate welfare," changing their meaning in political speech by adding ideas to them that we do not endorse. I call this process "kidnapping and brainwashing" our frames. The article explains how they are doing it and what to do about it.
Saturday, May 30, 2015(1 comments)
Say: "Smart on Prison Dollars" not "Smart on Crime"
This article suggests a new frame for the burgeoning prison reform effort that is now threatened by presidential candidates in thrall to the private prison lobby. That industry requires a steady flow of new prisoners just to keep up their profit margins. There are strong counter efforts afoot to keep prison reform alive, but the language we use about it is going to really matter in 2015-2016.
Friday, April 24, 2015(1 comments)
Say "Rebate," not "Dividend"
This article explains why we should be calling for carbon fee & "rebate" laws at every level of government now. Since many of these proposals are now called "fee & dividend," there is a problem with the public understanding the ideas behind the proposals. Framing the payback to citizens from carbon fees charged fossil fuel companies as a "rebate" should make the idea of owning the air easier to teach.
Friday, March 27, 2015(18 comments)
Countering the GOP "Sabotage America" Campaign
This article suggests a strategy and a general frame to characterize what the GOP Congress is doing, now fully revealed in the budgets both houses have passed. It also includes some positive frames we can use to call for what should be happening instead.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015(1 comments)
The "One Big Family" Frame in 2015
This article describes encouraging new grass roots efforts to help heal the bitter partisan divide in our country. It shows that the "one big American family" frame is still alive in our land, and that it needs our nurture.
Thursday, November 20, 2014(4 comments)
A Watershed Metaphor for These Times
This article is about an important metaphor we can use right now in this difficult moment. It suggests a direct, grass roots based approach to dealing with the corrupt corporate hold on our governments at every level, and the article provides examples and links to important resources.
Framing Climate Change Action Now: Advice, Slogans, & the "Necessity" Frame
This article contains three things: general advice for framing climate action messages for next week's marches, actual slogan suggestions, and a VIP link to one version of the "necessity" defense story about the wonderful DA in Fall River, who joined us because it is a
"necessity" to act now to prevent more climate damage!
Monday, September 1, 2014(3 comments)
Stopping the Mega-Corp Coup
This article turns a searchlight on the framing trick mega-corps have used to con Congress, and suggests new, more popularly accessible, empowering framing for abstract, metaphysical sounding terms like "corporate state." It also zeroes in on important positive news about getting beyond the dangers we face from the mega-corps now.
Monday, April 28, 2014(3 comments)
Say "Let's get to climate safety fast!" (Reframing Divestment Now)
This article suggests that the IPCC report and new moves by fossil fuel companies call for a change in our "divestment" framing. That should include extending the idea of "divesting" to fossil fuel companies and Congressional reps too. The article includes some examples of exactly what to say this point now.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014(1 comments)
National Security: Going “Up” or “Down?”
This article starts by noting some key phrases in President Obama's SOTU about our need to get off a permanent war footing, and uses that to argue that U.S. wars, war prep, mega-spying, and drone attacks have now reduced our national security drastically, in a world that has become a true global village today. Four important sources are also cited in this piece.
Friday, January 17, 2014(3 comments)
SOS: Framing the Climate Protection Act Now
This short piece explains why we must follow the example of Senators Boxer and Sanders in calling a price on carbon a "fee," not a tax, and also why it is necessary to describe money returned to citizens a "rebate," not a dividend.
Monday, December 2, 2013(5 comments)
Reframing "Obamacare" Now
This article argues that the President must dump the "Obamacare" frame fast, and jump-start some "American truth bites" about what's working re the ACA, and why we need it. The article contains some framing suggestions for all of us too and important background in the footnotes and the first comment.
Monday, November 4, 2013(9 comments)
Framing Climate Change Action Now
This article provides American Framing ideas on climate change action for three kinds of audiences: those who are already convinced but in despair and ignoring the issue, those who are not yet convinced, and
for the general public we'd like to enlist in shaming the fossil fuel industry for their denial, their funding of deniers, and their refusal to face the issue.
Friday, September 6, 2013(1 comments)
Re Syria: Say "We Can Do Better than Bombs!"
This short piece suggests some powerful new "American" sound bites to get Washington's ear right now about alternatives to Mr. Obama's "bomb Syria" plan. Also included are links to resources about alternatives and a note about this being the breakthrough point for a new global norm about avoiding war as enforcement for international law.
Saturday, July 20, 2013(3 comments)
Say: "True Public Safety Means Prevention!"
This article calls attention to the dangerous new conservative frame, "public safety" linked to "crime," provides extensive documentation for the success of cost-saving prevention,and argues that we should tweak their frame as suggested now.
Monday, April 29, 2013(11 comments)
Say: "Make Social Security Fair."
This article suggests that we need to get beyond just saying no to the chained CPI benefit cut to Social Security. It's time to raise the fairness issue about the income cap, and the threat to senior, veteran, and disabled rights that it and the proposed chained CPI cut pose.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013(1 comments)
Guns, Nukes, Dollars, and the One Big Family Frame
This article points out that the sequester cuts do not apply to new nuclear weapons, which the Obama administration, is actually planning to create. Details of those plans are included in the argument that the American "one big family" frame is growing in importance again, given G.O.P. defeats and disarray, and that while we are urging Congress to enact gun limits,it's time to push on nuke reductions too.
Monday, February 4, 2013(9 comments)
Tell the Media Again: Say "Safety," not "Control!"
This article makes the case that those media outlets still using the phrase "gun control" are harming the cause of gun reform and shows that better language had already gone viral until the media persisting in using "control."
Saturday, December 29, 2012(8 comments)
Say gun "safety," not gun "control!"
This very short article is about how to frame the gun law issue in the way most likely to garner wide support, even among grass roots NRA members.
Friday, December 14, 2012(2 comments)
Say: Cut Military "Corporations" Instead
This article lays out better ways to shape and frame our push to cut military spending, right now and in the future. Activists and policy makers can use these suggestions re the current fiscal cliff debate, and in the years to come. Budget battles are never really over, and it's never too late to improve!
Friday, November 2, 2012(3 comments)
Counter-frame the Economy! Three Ways to Avoid Their Words
This article looks at the ways we can counter-frame the G.O.P.'s language about the economy. It reports on a new analysis of what the G.O.P.'s metaphors for economic subjects do to peoples' heads, and offers progressive alternatives that will turn the issues around for us instead.
Friday, September 21, 2012(3 comments)
How to "Speak American" When You GOTV
This article lays out the steps for preparing to "speak American" as we progressives fan out to work on the phonebanks, calling parties, and precinct walking that experts now say may make all the difference in the upcoming election.
Friday, August 10, 2012(6 comments)
Counter-frame It! How to Stop Using Their Words
This article covers the basics of how to counter the Right's maddening sound bites and slogans. Three specific methods are spelled out, and examples of each are included. In addition, four typical Left slogan framing traps are described and diagnosed.
Thursday, June 28, 2012(6 comments)
Let's Get Beyond Left "Groupspeak!"
This article suggests that the Left suffers badly from a disease: ineffective, selfdefeating "groupthink" and "groupspeak," but that help is at hand. After giving recent examples of progressive "groupspeak" heard at recent national conferences, the author suggest fixes for them and points to tools and new resources,including The Little Blue Book, that can bring about a comprehensive reform of progressive messaging.
Friday, June 1, 2012(1 comments)
Let's All Say "Cards on the Table," Again!
This piece suggests a slogan and a metaphor we could all use to push for a new "disclosure" campaign, given the horrors of this political ad season and some promising news re the FEC and a new DISCLOSE bill initiative afoot in the Senate.
Friday, April 13, 2012(1 comments)
This article suggests some "American truthbites" for getting the message of Van Jones' new book, Rebuild the Dream, out to a wider audience.
Friday, March 2, 2012(12 comments)
Reframing Climate Change Now
This article proposes that we need to change the way we frame climate change for the general public, since the climate change deniers are still winning. I include eight substantial reframes for handling the topic when trying to persuade the general American public.
Friday, January 27, 2012(2 comments)
Re Iran: Say "Think Outside the Box!"
This article suggests that we all should try to crowd source some "out of the box" thinking about the latest Middle East crisis between Iran, Israel, and others, instead of just fatalistically waiting for the worst case scenario to happen. The article includes a few unusual ideas, and calls for getting more "cool it options" on the table too.
Saturday, December 3, 2011(13 comments)
Protect the 99% Right Now!
This article promotes the idea that Occupy should do some work on the immediate need to extend unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut right now. The piece includes frames and facts that will help, plus ideas for Pentagon nuclear spending cuts 100% of Americans could love.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011(2 comments)
Spring The Super Trap!
This article suggests that we use the phrase "The Super Trap" for all of the ways the 1% are exploiting the 99% these days. (A review of what those ways are is included.) The piece goes on to point out that when the Senate Super Committee makes its decision about new cuts, the trap will close in even more on everyday Americans. The article recommends that we use the slogan "Spring the Super Trap!" to help move our agenda.
Monday, September 26, 2011(6 comments)
Speaking to America's Broken Heart
This article suggests ways to frame our messages for a discouraged and frustrated America, ways that go much deeper than just giving them a lot of facts or suggesting government action that may not seem quite credible right now. We must think much bigger than that. The article suggests some things to include.
Saturday, July 30, 2011(1 comments)
Telling the "Set America Free!" Story
This article models how to tell a new American story about the way many of our people are taking action at the local, regional,and state level to build a new economy that can free us from corporate control.
Thursday, May 26, 2011(3 comments)
Say Credit Rating, not Debt Limit!
This article suggests some language for countering the Tea Party/Republican hostage game re raising the debt limit. I propose that the word "debt" is causing a lot of trouble with the public; the real issue is America's "credit rating." Let's say that instead!
Monday, April 11, 2011(1 comments)
Use the "One Big Family" Frame!
This article suggests that we need to go big when we resist the Tea Party coup by invoking the "One Big Family" frame. That frame refers to a classic way of doing politics in our country, one that has kept us safe from the crackpot extremism the Tea Party is now trying to cram down our throats.
Thursday, February 24, 2011(3 comments)
American Dream or American Sword?
This article contrasts the way our American dream has spread to the Middle East with the impotence of military measures today and suggests that our national security depends now more on saving the American dream and ensuring a sustainable energy future by taking funds from the Pentagon to do the job.
Sunday, January 30, 2011(1 comments)
Framing "Our American Budget"
This article suggests tested language progressives can use for framing our American budget and what it means for our country, as we go into the critical budget/default prevention debate in the House in mid-February.
Sunday, December 12, 2010(1 comments)
Framing the Right's Nuclear Gamble
This article, Framing the Right's Nuclear Gamble, suggests we add to our progressive pr some satire about right wing senators gambling with the new START treaty, just to stop Obama. It reviews all the many possible really bad nuclear outcomes of stalling or stopping ratification now or in 2011, in what I hope is a witty, tongue in cheek way.
Friday, November 19, 2010(1 comments)
Countering the Right's "American" Con
This article looks at the "American story" frames the Right used to win on November 2 and suggests ways we can use our own "American stories" to fight back.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010(5 comments)
Let's "Reinvent America!"
This article suggests some framing language for naming a "big tent" progressive movement that can include all of us and meet the public's hunger for a bigger vision of America than our politics can provide right now.
Thursday, July 22, 2010(3 comments)
Popping The Have's "Credibility Bubble "
This article suggests macro framing language and concepts for attacking the credibility of the Right and other members of the D.C. elite who are again pushing market fundamentalism and other failed "economic recovery" strategies. The piece concludes with a focus on how to motivate voters to get out and vote in November, despite our many disappointments.
Friday, May 28, 2010(1 comments)
Framing "Fair Elections:" The Dream of America!
This piece argues that we should frame the 2010 election as a time to start bringing back the "Dream of America:" government by the people, of the people, and for the people, where elections are clean and fair, not deceptive corporate political advertising campaigns. These things are our birthright, the original political Dream of America! Two recent bills show the way to get there.
Friday, April 30, 2010(1 comments)
Cards on the Table!
This article suggests framing language for talking about the new DISCLOSE bill unveiled today that repairs damage to our democracy done by the terrible Supreme Court Citizens' United decision.
Thursday, April 1, 2010(3 comments)
Got American Breakthrough Language?
This article suggests that having a legislative breakthrough with the health insurance reform bill shows how important "breakthroughs" are right now, and provides a list of other "breakthrough" language we can use as we go through the coming struggles over energy, banking, and immigration reform.
Thursday, February 18, 2010(1 comments)
Blame The "Big Business Thugs!"
This piece argues that our real problem is those "big business thugs" who threaten, bribe and manipulate Congress to ignore the safety and welfare of the American people. We need to name the problem correctly and succinctly, so that American citizens can start taking our country back.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010(1 comments)
Say "Rules," Not "Regulation"
The article argues that we should be talking about "rules," not "regulation," re both the financial reform crisis and the energy reform issue, since the word "rules" calls up mainstream accessible sports metaphors about playing by the rules, playing fair, and fair referees, while "regulation" is what the conservatives constantly refuse to accept.