Vocabulary for the progressive narrative

 

1 Percent

99 Percent

American Dream

American Left

American Legislative Exchange Council

Anarchy

Angst

Antigovernment

Anti-Government Extremists

Anti-Urban

Apocalypse

Atheists

Austerity

Ayn Rand

Backlash Politics

Biblical Economics/Prosperity Gospel

Brainwash

branding/rebranding

Budget

Capitalism

Census Bureau

Center – Right – Left

Christian Nation

Christianity

Church-State Wall

Citizens United

Civil Rights

Civilization

Class Warfare

Climate Change

Climate Skeptics

Coalition

Cognitive dissonance

Common Good

compassion or empathy

compromise

conscience

Conscious Evolution

Consciousness

Conservative Radio

Conspiracy

Conspiracy Theories

Constituent

consumerism

Corporate Power

Corporation

Creed (American)

Culture war

critical, higher level thinking

Dark Ages

Debacle

Debate

Debt Ceiling

Declaration

Deficit

Deficit-Hawk

Delusional

democracy

dirty tricks

dissident

Diversity

dogma

Dominionists

Double think

Duopoly

dysfunction

Ecological Crisis

Egalitarian

Elites

Emotion

empathy or compassion

enlightenment

Evidence

evolution

Existential

Exploit

Fabric of our Society

Faiths

False Equation

Fear

Financial Sector

Fiscal Cliff

Framing

Free trade

Freedom

Freedom of and From Religion

Fundamentalism

Fundamentalist Evangelicals

G.O.P.

Generation C

Global Convergence

Global Peace Index

Global Warming

Government Contracts

Government of Laws

Government’s Role 

Grassroots

Gridlock

Gun Control

Happiness

Heretics

history

Honesty

Hubris

Human nature

Human Rights

humanist

humanities

Human family

Hyperbolic

Hypocrites

Idealism

Ideology

ignorance

Inherit

institutional analysis

Intellectuals

interconnectedness

Iraq tragedy

Judeo-Christian

justice

labor

Language

learning curve

Liberal Christianity

Literate

Machiavelli

Mainstream media

Majority

Manifesto

Manipulate

Mankind

Marginal

media bias

Meme

memes

Merit-Based Society

Meritocracy

Middle class

Millennials

Moral Beings

morals

Multiracial Society

myth

Myths, Lies, Deceptions and Distractions

Neo-Conservatism

Neo-liberalism

Neuroscience

New Deal

nihilism

Non-Religious

Obsessions

Obstruct 

Occupy Movement

partisans

Patriarchal

Patriot Movement

Personality – Conservative and Liberal

Perversion

Platform

pluralism

Plutocracy

politics of hatred

Poverty

pragmatic moderate

principle

Privatization

progressive

Progressive Conscience

Propagandists

Prosperity

Prosperity Gospel

Public Debt

Public Opinion

pundit

Racial Resentment

Radicalism

Realignment

Reality

Reality-Based Community

Reconstructionists

Redistributing wealth

Religious literacy

Religious Right

respect

rule of law 

Sabotage

scandal

Scholarship

School Choice

School privatization

Second Amendment

Secular

Secularism and Free Thinking

Sedition

Self-Interest Fundamentalism

Sequester

Shame

Shareholder Value

Situational analysis

Social Contract

Social Darwinism

Social Extremism

Social media

Social Movements

Social Networking

Social responsibility

socialist, Democratic socialist

Society

Soul of America

Southern Strategy

Spiritual and Political Warfare

Spiritual but Not Religious

Spiritual Left

spirituality

Status Quo

STEM classes

Stolen Election

Tax Breaks

Tea Party Movement

Texas Textbooks

Theists

Theories

Think-Tank

Tipping Point

Transformation

Transparency

Treachery

Treason

Truth

Unions (labor)

United Nations

values

Value Voters

viral

Vision

Voter Suppression

Wages

War Crimes

Watchdog

Watergate

Wealth

Wedge Issues

Well-Being

White Resentment

Witch-Hunt

World Peace and Prosperity

zealot

Zero-Sum

 

Contagious: Why Things Catch On

by Jay Connor, August 1, 2013

Six Elements to Turn Your Ideas of Collective Impact Viral, http://vibrantcanada.ca/blog

Jonah Berger in his recently published book, “Contagious,” has given us a very good read that builds on “Switch” and “The Tipping Point.”  In essence we are introduced to a means to put into practice what were simply observations in the Heath’s and Gladwell’s separate takes on how to influence others.  Those of us who work across sectors in community are always trying to find the magic formula for engaging and moving our respective audiences to action.

For Berger, there are six essential factors that contribute to contagious ideas: think of them as the STEPPS to having your ideas catch on.  Not all elements are necessary for an idea to catch on, but a combination of some or all these elements would certainly increase the likelihood. (A key note here is that this is not all about virality in an Internet context — according to Berger only 7% of real world contagion occurs on the web; the vast majority of ideas that catch on are still transported word of mouth.)  A quick look at some of the most successful viral campaigns reveals each of these elements at work.

Social currency. We share things that make us look good or help us compare favorably to others. Exclusive restaurants utilize social currency all the time to create demand.  In community: involvement in an effort to solve seemingly intractable problems would provide social currency, but if jargon makes it too hard to explain either the issue or the solution we preclude virality.

Triggers. Ideas that are top of mind spread. Like parasites, viral ideas attach themselves to top of mind stories, occurrences or environments. For example, Mars bar sales spiked when in 1997 when NASA’s Pathfinder mission explored the red planet.  In community: think of how to frame your ideas in order that they might have triggers for the larger community.  For example: your work on poverty reduction might have more triggers if you were also able to talk about it in economic development or community betterment terms.

Emotion. When we care, we share. Jonah analyzed over six months of data from the New York Times most emailed list to discover that certain high arousal emotions can dramatically increase our need to share ideas - like the outrage triggered by Dave Carroll’s “United Breaks Guitars” video.  In community: we’ve been fairly adept at the first part of the equation – care – but we have had more difficulty with creating the vehicle for sharing, be it a video, website or story.

Public. People tend to follow others, but only when they can see what those others are doing. There is a reason why baristas put money in their own tip jar at the beginning of a shift. Ideas need to be public to be copied.  In community: the question should be: what is the behavior we want repeated and how to we publicly model it.

Practical. Humans crave the opportunity to give advice and offer tips (one reason why advocate marketing works – your best customers love to help out), but especially if they offer practical value. It’s why we `pay it forward’ and help others. Sharing is caring.  In community: have you provided your advocates with a story, checklist or tool to share that brings practical value.  Many communities have developed a “kindergarten-readiness checklist” for this purpose.

Stories.People do not just share information, they tell stories. And stories are like Trojan horses, vessels that carry ideas, brands, and information. To benefit the brand, stories must not only be shared but also relate to a sponsoring company’s products. Thus the epic failure of viral sensations like Evian’s roller baby video (50M views) that did little to stem Evian’s 25% drop in sales.

As you are developing your marketing campaign or community engagement strategy, you should put it through the test of the STEPPS elements.  It will move you from your frame of reference to your audiences’ and that is the beginning of being contagious!

- See more at: http://vibrantcanada.ca/blogs/jay-connor/contagious-why-things-catch#sthash.aiLAhioz.dpuf

http://vibrantcanada.ca/blogs/jay-connor/contagious-why-things-catch

Poll Conducted for Aspen Ideas Festival Shows ‘American Dream’ Unreachable for Most Americans 2006

US Newswire | July 6, 2006

Excerpt

…a new survey conducted by Dr. Douglas E. Schoen finds that a majority of Americans say they are not living the American Dream…Some of the key findings of the survey are as follows:– While 81 percent agree that America is the land of opportunity, the idea is not something that is being realized, it is simply an abstract concept. — Today, 61 percent of Americans say they are not living the American Dream.

Full text

Aspen, Colo., Jul 6, 2006 (U.S. Newswire via COMTEX) — With Americans having just celebrated their nation’s independence, a new survey conducted by Dr. Douglas E. Schoen finds that a majority of Americans say they are not living the American Dream. Dr. Schoen’s findings were presented at the Aspen Ideas Festival, a weeklong exploration of ideas across an array of timely topics that is being co-presented by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic magazine.

Some of the key findings of the survey are as follows:

– While 81 percent agree that America is the land of opportunity, the idea is not something that is being realized, it is simply an abstract concept.

– Today, 61 percent of Americans say they are not living the …

http://business.highbeam.com/1208/article-1G1-147885220/poll-conducted-aspen-ideas-festival-shows-american

We Are What We Quote

By GEOFFREY O’BRIEN, Opinionator Blogs, New York Times, March 2, 2013

Quotes are the mental furniture of my life. From certain angles my inner landscape resembles a gallery hung with half-recalled citations, the rags and tag-ends of a lifetime of reading and listening. They can be anything at all, the exquisitely chiseled perceptions of poets and philosophers or the blurts of unscheduled truth-telling by public figures caught in the spotlight (the former Jersey City mayor Frank Hague’s “I am the law” or Richard Nixon’s “I’m not a crook”); the punch lines of 1930s comedians or the curtain lines of Jacobean dramatists; or words of wisdom or anguish or ridiculous humor, or simply, for instance, M.F.K. Fisher’s recollection of “the potato chips I ate slowly one November afternoon in 1936, in the bar of the Lausanne Palace.” They are the dangling threads that memory can latch onto when everything else goes blank.

What is the use of quotations? They have of, course, their practical applications for after-dinner speakers or for editorialists looking to buttress their arguments. They also make marvelous filler for otherwise uninspired conversations. But the gathering of such fragments responds to a much deeper compulsion. It resonates with the timeless desire to seize on the minimal remnant — the tiniest identifiable gesture — out of which the world could, in a pinch, be reconstructed. Libraries may go under, cultures may go under, but single memorizable bits of rhyme and discourse persist over centuries. Shattered wholes reach us in small disconnected pieces, like the lines of the poet Sappho preserved in ancient treatises. To collect those pieces, to extrapolate lost worlds from them, to create a larger map of the human universe by laying many such pieces side by side: this can become a fever, and one that has afflicted writers of all eras.

Anyone, of course, might develop a passion for quotes, but for a writer it’s a particularly intimate connection. A good quotation can serve as a model for one’s own work, a perpetual challenge with the neatness and self-sufficiency of its structure laid bare in the mind. How does it work? How might a quotation be done differently, with the materials and urgencies of a different moment? Perhaps writers should begin, in fact, by inwardly uttering again what has already been uttered, to get the feel of it and to savor its full power.

Quotes are the actual fabric with which the mind weaves: internalizing them, but also turning them inside out, quarreling with them, adding to them, wandering through their architecture as if a single sentence were an expansible labyrinthine space.

There are days when a one-sentence aphorism by Georg Christoph Lichtenberg — say, “The most successful tempters and thus the most dangerous are the deluded deluders” — seems as substantial as a 300-page novel, or when a single line from a John Clare poem — “Summer’s pleasures they are gone like to visions every one”— seems as if it could stand in for half the poetry ever written. Quotations bring other people, most of them long dead, into the solitary realm of thinking and writing until there is a sense of sitting in the midst of a room noisy with passionate confessions and pointed interjections. It is one thing to look at a vast wall full of unopened books — more lifetimes than any of us has — another to have the effect of a whole book contained in one phrase.

So many of the people we quote — Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville, T.S. Eliot, Jorge Luis Borges, Susan Sontag — were themselves obsessive collectors of quotations. Emerson, whose journals are filled with quotations, was alert to the ways a text could change by being taken out of its context: “It is curious what new interest an old sentence or poem acquires in quotation.” Robert Burton’s classic “The Anatomy of Melancholy” is essentially a compendium of quotes with commentary. Our modern encyclopedist Borges can create new meanings and dizzying perspectives merely by juxtaposing citations drawn from an unprecedented breadth of eras and regions. To enter the worlds of classical Chinese and Japanese and Arabic poetry is to enter realms of ricocheting quotation and counter-quotation. The old joke about the first-time reader of “Hamlet” calling it “nothing but a bunch of quotations strung together” isn’t so far-off. All literary culture in a way is nothing but such a string, down to its most random corners. How many little bits of Shakespeare are preserved in the titles of mystery novels?

In a real sense, we are what we quote — and what can any of us hope to be but a tiny component of that hubbub of voices distilled by books of quotations and epigrams? I have always found such volumes the most irresistible reading. They make it possible to channel-surf millenniums of cultural history, moving forward or backward at will, and plucking out whatever perfectly formed fragment turns out to be precisely what you were looking for. The endlessness of it all is enough to make your head spin, but that dizziness is arrested by the steadying compactness and solidity of the ideal quote — the one that stands there bare and isolated and unencumbered, tiny enough to be grasped all at once, yet unfathomably wide and deep.

At a certain point, in a necessary act of appropriation, you make it part of who you are, whether or not you ever quote it to anyone but yourself. Culture then is not a wall “over there” but the very tiles out of which your own thoughts are constructed. The tiles are variegated and of different ages and subject to every kind of manipulation and juxtaposition. They take their place finally among quotes of a different kind — the quotes that are quotes to no one but you, all the things that friends and lovers and family and strangers and random voices on radio or television have said that cling to your memory and come back at odd hours of day or night, the words that become part of an alternate canon of what has not yet been written down. Out of all that mixing, with luck, might come the rarest thing of all, a new thought or fresh insight that can take its place with all those other sentences, a quotation that waited until just this moment to declare itself.

Geoffrey O’Brien, the author of “The Fall of the House of Walworth,” is editor in chief of the Library of America and general editor of the 18th edition of “Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations.”

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/02/we-are-what-we-quote/?nl=opinion&emc=edit_ty_20130305

Are Republicans rebranding or rethinking?

By E.J. Dionne Jr., Published: February 6, 2013, Washington Post

Rebranding is trendy in the Republican Party..But there’s a big difference between rebranding and pursuing a different approach to governing…A lot of the rebranding efforts are superficial yet nonetheless reflect an awareness that the party has been asking the wrong questions, talking about the wrong issues and limiting the range of voters it’s been addressing…Obama and progressives are changing the terms of the debate, much as Ronald Reagan did in the 1980s…

Full text

Rebranding is trendy in the Republican Party.

Rep. Eric Cantor gave a major speech Tuesday to advance the effort. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal wants the GOP to stop being the “stupid party.” Karl Rove is setting up a political action committee (it’s what he does these days) to defeat right-wing crazies who cost the party Senate seats.

But there’s a big difference between rebranding and pursuing a different approach to governing.

The good news is that some Republicans have decided that the party moved too far to the right and are backing off long-standing positions on tax increases, guns and immigration. Their new flexibility, combined with President Obama’s new post-election aggressiveness, is producing a quiet revolution in Washington. The place is becoming less dysfunctional.

Congress has already passed a substantial tax increase, Republicans avoided a debt ceiling fight, and the ice is breaking on guns and immigration.

The mixed news: A lot of the rebranding efforts are superficial yet nonetheless reflect an awareness that the party has been asking the wrong questions, talking about the wrong issues and limiting the range of voters it’s been addressing.

This is why Cantor’s speech was more important than the policies he outlined, which were primarily conservative retreads. His intervention proved that Obama and progressives are changing the terms of the debate, much as Ronald Reagan did in the 1980s.

Cantor wasn’t making the case for smaller government or tax cuts for the “job creators.” He was asking what government could do for the middle class — “to provide relief to so many millions of Americans who just want their life to work again.”

No wonder Sen. Charles Schumer, one of the Democrats’ most subtle strategists, jumped at the chance to praise Cantor for taking “the first step toward finding common ground in agreeing on the problem you are trying to solve.” If the debate is about who will be nicer to business or who will cut taxes, Republicans win. What Schumer understands is that if the issue is providing relief for the middle class (and for workers, immigrants and low-income children), Republicans are competing over questions on which progressives have the advantage.

The bad news: In some states where Republicans control all the levers of power, they are rushing ahead with astonishingly right-wing programs to eviscerate government while shifting the tax burden toward the middle class and the poor and away from the wealthy. In trying to build the Koch brothers’ dystopias, they are turning states in laboratories of reaction.

As Neil King Jr. and Mark Peters reported in a Wall Street Journal article on the “Red State model,” Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has slashed both income taxes and spending. This drew fire from moderate and moderately conservative Republican legislators, whom he then helped purge in primaries. Jindal is talking about ending Louisiana’s personal and corporate income taxes and replacing the revenue with sales tax increases — a stunningly naked transfer of resources from the poor and the middle class to the rich.

This deeply anti-majoritarian, anti-populist approach explains the really bad news: Some Republicans show signs of not worrying about winning majorities at all. Gerrymandering helped their party win a majority in the House (no longer so representative) in November while losing the popular vote overall by nearly 1.4 million votes. Some are trying to rig the electoral college in a way that would have let Mitt Romney win the presidency even as he lost by about 5 million popular votes.

And they are willing to use the Senate’s arcane rules and right-wing courts in tandem to foil the policy wishes of a majority of Congress and the president — witness the unprecented U.S. Court of Appeals ruling voiding Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. The president took this course because intransigent Republican senators blocked the nominations. There should be a greater outcry against such an anti-democratic power play.

What’s the overall balance sheet? Level Republican heads seem to be pushing against the electoral college rigging effort. The “Red State model” is likely to take hold in only a few states — and may provoke a backlash. The larger lesson may be the one Cantor offered: Republicans are slowly realizing that the nation’s priorities are not the GOP’s traditional priorities. If Republicans really do start asking better questions, they will come up with better — and less extreme — answers.

Read more from E.J. Dionne’s archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

Read more about this issue: Greg Sargent: The party of Reagan vs. the party of Norquist Jennifer Rubin: The left squawks as Republicans roll out substance Jamelle Bouie: In defense of the GOP’s makeover Ed Rogers: For Republicans, bad has gotten worse

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ej-dionne-are-republicans-rebranding-or-rethinking/2013/02/06/af1764bc-7096-11e2-ac36-3d8d9dcaa2e2_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines

Myth and Its Dangers

by Gary Hart, published by HuffingtonPost.com, October 7, 2012

Excerpt

“For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived, and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” John Kennedy, speech at Yale University during the Cold War

…Myths in politics… “Widely held but false idea” is one dictionary definition of myth in common usage…myths abound in recent American political history. Perhaps the most glaring and consequential was the myth that Iraq under Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction…Myths in politics are dangerous… Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth. If this strange world were the product of mere laziness it might be understandable. But today’s political myths are more perverse. They are a conscious hiding place from a changing, challenging, and often uncomfortable new world….Myths which have no basis in truth, or which do not operate as metaphors for religious truth, eventually fade away with the passing of those who perpetuate them and in the face of reality and fact. But the most dangerous myths create demons where none exist, the demons being anyone who disagrees with the myth-makers. In the meantime, however, they serve not only to delude the deniers but to frustrate our Founders’ belief in the progress of the human mind.

Full text

Myths play a central role as metaphor in many world religions, according to Joseph Campbell. In The Hero With a Thousand Faces and The Power of Myth he studied the world mythologies, found common themes in a wide variety of cultures, and reached a startling conclusion: myths, he said, come from dreams and, therefore, people around the world have common dreams. It is a profound and still controversial insight for religion, psychology, and human culture. Students in all these fields continue to consider the power of myth.

Myths in politics, however, play a much different role. “Widely held but false idea” is one dictionary definition of myth in common usage. For reasons that are still unclear, myths abound in recent American political history. Perhaps the most glaring and consequential was the myth thatIraq under Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

There are other cases in point. Barack Obama is a Muslim born inKenyaand therefore not an American citizen. These are myths, yet they are widely believed in certain circles. Poor people are poor by choice. A classic myth. A rising tide lifts all boats. Much more true when we were an industrial society and manufacturing products created jobs. Much less true when the economic tide is one of finance and money manipulation which lifts the gilded yachts but not the rowboats of the rest of us. Jobs are not created when crackpot financial schemes make hedge fund managers rich. Thus, a myth.

Myths in politics are dangerous. In an important speech at YaleUniversityduring the Cold War, John Kennedy said:

“For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived, and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”

He was speaking of the myths on both sides that perpetuated a Cold War in a dangerous way.

Exactly 50 years later, no assessment comes closer to describing much of our current political world. Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth.

If this strange world were the product of mere laziness it might be understandable. But today’s political myths are more perverse. They are a conscious hiding place from a changing, challenging, and often uncomfortable new world. Globalization, immigration, cultural and racial diversity are threatening and frightening to many who wish to freeze the former comfortable world in time and prevent any change.

Myths which have no basis in truth, or which do not operate as metaphors for religious truth, eventually fade away with the passing of those who perpetuate them and in the face of reality and fact. But the most dangerous myths create demons where none exist, the demons being anyone who disagrees with the myth-makers. In the meantime, however, they serve not only to delude the deniers but to frustrate our Founders’ belief in the progress of the human mind.

Gary Hart is President of Hart International, Ltd.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gary-hart/myth-and-its-dangers_b_1946636.html?utm_hp_ref=daily-brief?utm_source=DailyBrief&utm_campaign=100812&utm_medium=email&utm_content=BlogEntry&utm_term=Daily%20Brief