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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 1/25/18

The Power of Positive Persistence

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From George Lakoff Blog

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Like some foreign dictator, the Republican in the White House will launch a planned attack on the free press today. But he's been in an ongoing campaign against the truth since Day One.

It's alarming because presidents don't act this way. Dictators do. And there's evidence to suggest that the Republican president's constant attacks on the news media have encouraged dictators in other countries to continue their repression of journalists.

In a previous post, I laid out an idea to creatively undermine this pre-planned assault on the free press (see chart below). The main idea: Do the opposite of what the Republican president wants. That is: Express support for good journalism and great reporters without accepting the frame of his fake ceremony. Defeat him by celebrating the truthful, powerful stories that may take down this corrupt presidency. Deprive him of the power to focus attention on his messages.

That's one idea. But the general concept here is more important than any specific tactic. This is about framing, and our need to get a better grasp on how framing works in politics and the media.

Framing is about reclaiming our power to decide what's important. Framing is about making sure WE set the terms of the debate, using our language and our ideas. Conservatives have beaten progressives at this for decades. It's time for a change.

Back to today: Let today inspire an ongoing campaign to #ProtectTheTruth. We need a long-term strategy for positive persistence. Positive persistence beats negative resistance. And while words are important, action prevails.

There's a place for angry response and outrage. That's only human. But we also need strategic action to make sure every passing day fuels positive action towards progress.

We must avoid the mistake of the 2016 election, when many thought Trump's outrageous antics would naturally bring him down. They didn't.

So if this ongoing attack on the truth offends your sense of what it means to be American, here are a few more ideas of how to convert the Republican president's negative actions into positive progress for truth, freedom, and democracy:

  • Subscribe. Whether it's your local paper or a national publication, SUBSCRIBE! Show that you value truthful journalism and will pay for it. Become a supporter of public radio or an independent outlet like Mother Jones.

  • Fund Victory. If we all gave 50 cents to candidates like Randy Bryce (@IronStache), Katie Hill (@KatieHill4CA), and Andrew Janze (@JanzforCongress)every time Trump tweeted, we'd have more than a #BlueWave2018. We'd have a tsunami! Fund victory! Pick a candidate in a tough race. Pledge 50 cents per tweet!

  • Support CPJ: Journalists around the world live under daily threat from dictators, criminals, and corrupt regimes. The Committee to Protect Journalists has their back. Follow them, fund them, and help!

  • Talk to People. Turn off the computer or phone and TALK to people -- your friends, your family, your neighbors -- about what's happening in our country right now. Make sure they're paying attention, and make sure they plan to vote in November!


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George Lakoff is Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley, where he has taught since 1972. He previously taught at Harvard (1965-69) and the (more...)

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