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Mon Feb 25, 2013, 11:06 PM

10 Phrases Progressives Need To Ditch (And What We Can Say Instead)

I am sure this has been posted - I know this issue has been talked about here - but there are a couple in here of new import to me. I especially like "undocumented resident" instead of "illegal,"alien", et al.,

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/02/24/10-phrases-progressives-need-to-ditch/

1). Big Business: Instead, try: Unelected Government.

(2). Entitlements: Instead, try: Earned Benefits.


(4). Government Spending: Instead, try: Investing in America.
(5). Gun Control: Gun Safety.

(6). Illegal Aliens Instead, try: Undocumented Residents.


(9). The Environment: Instead, try: Shared Resources.
(10). Welfare: . Instead, try: Social Safety Net

53 replies, 4532 views

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Arrow 53 replies Author Time Post
Reply 10 Phrases Progressives Need To Ditch (And What We Can Say Instead) (Original post)
ashling Feb 2013 OP
KaryninMiami Feb 2013 #1
Major Nikon Feb 2013 #3
BlueStreak Feb 2013 #7
Jasana Feb 2013 #16
texshelters Feb 2013 #37
BlueStreak Feb 2013 #6
starroute Feb 2013 #10
2naSalit Feb 2013 #13
BlueStreak Feb 2013 #21
texshelters Feb 2013 #38
ErikJ Feb 2013 #8
backscatter712 Feb 2013 #42
SoCalDem Feb 2013 #24
Blanks Feb 2013 #28
mountain grammy Feb 2013 #39
Major Nikon Feb 2013 #2
SoCalDem Feb 2013 #25
backscatter712 Feb 2013 #43
get the red out Feb 2013 #26
MadrasT Feb 2013 #48
JaneyVee Feb 2013 #4
backscatter712 Feb 2013 #44
johnnyreb Feb 2013 #5
JayhawkSD Feb 2013 #9
NastyRiffraff Feb 2013 #35
backscatter712 Feb 2013 #50
Kalidurga Feb 2013 #11
Jasana Feb 2013 #17
The Wizard Feb 2013 #12
backscatter712 Feb 2013 #47
pnwmom Feb 2013 #14
wickerwoman Feb 2013 #15
Donald Ian Rankin Feb 2013 #18
CTyankee Feb 2013 #20
hughee99 Feb 2013 #30
backscatter712 Feb 2013 #49
Donald Ian Rankin Feb 2013 #53
Brickbat Feb 2013 #19
yonder Feb 2013 #22
rrneck Feb 2013 #23
Blanks Feb 2013 #29
backscatter712 Feb 2013 #45
rrneck Feb 2013 #52
KamaAina Feb 2013 #27
Liberalagogo Feb 2013 #31
pansypoo53219 Feb 2013 #32
Squinch Feb 2013 #33
Katashi_itto Feb 2013 #34
texshelters Feb 2013 #36
rickyhall Feb 2013 #40
duffyduff Feb 2013 #41
backscatter712 Feb 2013 #46
Cha Feb 2013 #51

Response to ashling (Original post)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 11:22 PM

1. Once and for all-

Can we stop saying pro-life?! It's a personal pet peeve- one of their most successful word spins and it makes me crazy. We are all pro-life- otherwise we would be pro-death. Every time I hear someone say it I correct them- (anti-choice). A great example of how brilliant they are with messaging.

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Response to KaryninMiami (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 11:42 PM

3. I really think forced-birthing is a much more accurate description

When you are against sex education, birth control, and abortion, you are for state sanctioned forced birthing.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 12:26 AM

7. Every sperm is sacred

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 02:40 AM

16. You're on the right track but...

I'll just call it for what it really is: Pro Slavery

In this day and age with so many contraceptives available, a woman can make an informed decision about whether she wants to give birth. Take that all away from her and she becomes nothing but a slave. Repubs don't like contraception. They most certainly don't want to pay for it. They've made their positions clear. So...

Think about it... if you have no control over the functions of your biological body then there is no such thing as freedom. You are nothing but a slave. Slaving births for the government. Slaving births for the christian god. Slaving births for uncaring husbands (and even caring husbands who don't want more children.) Slaving births for the cheap contractive because it broke. Slaving births for rapes.

Stop calling them pro-life. It's the furtherest thing from the truth. They are Pro Slavery.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 09:54 PM

37. Right

They are "forced-birthers" and we are pro-choice which means we are pro-life.

PTxS

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Response to KaryninMiami (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 12:24 AM

6. I don't think "environment" has any baggage. Proud to use that one

I agree with most of the others.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #6)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 01:11 AM

10. And I have major problems with "shared resources"

If you google for the definition of resource, you get "A stock or supply of money, materials, staff, and other assets that can be drawn on by a person or organization in order to function."

That's not what the environment is. It's not a kind of warehouse full of stuff to be drawn on at will. It's both it's own thing and performs an essential planetary function.

So ditch that one. It sends entirely the wrong message.

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Response to starroute (Reply #10)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 01:47 AM

13. How about

"biospheric elements" or "biospheric components"?

As a life-long activist for all things natural and having to do with ecosystem health, I have an issue with the term "environmentalist" because is originated as a semi-derogatory term invented by a seriously biased media decades ago and is always an eye-roller or absolute turn-off switch for a large number of people who are tired of the propaganda related to the term by the corporate media.

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Response to 2naSalit (Reply #13)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 09:58 AM

21. I just don't see any reason to not say "environment"

In very large majorities, the public believes in protecting the environment. You don't change the name when you are winning.

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Response to starroute (Reply #10)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 09:56 PM

38. Some people in occupy call it

the commons. That term has a good history too.

PTxS

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Response to KaryninMiami (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 12:29 AM

8. How about Pro-violence party?

They are pro-Guns, war, execution, back-alley abortions etc.

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Response to ErikJ (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:39 PM

42. I'm taking to calling them the Cruelty Party.

That seems to be a good frame for what the Republicans do.

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Response to KaryninMiami (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 11:53 AM

24. Anti legal-choice is more accurate

choice IS legal and the "pro-lifers" are against that legal choice.

They are surely NOT pro life, since they go out of their way to deny things necessary to life for the ones who are born poor..

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Response to KaryninMiami (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 12:38 PM

28. How about...

Pro-Mind Your Own Business.

And the flip side

Anti-Stick Your Nose Into Other People's Business.

I'm not sure why someone's pregnancy is anybody's business except the family.

Maybe not even all of them.

Pro-life folk should be putting an end to war.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #28)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:02 PM

39. Yes!

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 11:39 PM

2. Some of this just plays into the RW agenda

Why should welfare and entitlements be dirty words that we can't use anymore? What's wrong with the idea that the most unfortunate among us shouldn't have to eat out of garbage cans to survive? I'm more in favor of calling people assholes who use those words in the pejorative. That's exactly what they are. Reinventing new words for the same thing just gives said assholes a new target to focus while making new charges of "political correctness" against those who use the new terms.

As far as the BS terms like "Right-to-Work" go, those on the left have been calling them what they are since day one.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 11:57 AM

25. Right to work = Anti union wages & benefits

and anti job-security

The whole right to work schtick has been sold by our media as a GOOD thing..,.,something that creates jobs, but they never tell the other side of the story..

$20hr family-supporting jobs cannibalized from one state and morphed into fire-at-will $8hr jobs doing the same thing in a poor, bottom of the barrel state, is NOT a fair-tradeoff

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Response to SoCalDem (Reply #25)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:44 PM

43. Another frame for unionization: Democracy for the Workplace.

Because of those defacto unelected governments known as corporations that wield power over us, we have to bind together in order to get some negotiating pressure. The first time I've ever walked into a union hall, I noticed that right on the wall, displayed by an American flag and a copy of the US Constitution was the union bylaws, which detailed the democratic elections of its leaders.

So. What does a union do? It brings democracy to the workplace. Through unionization, people gained a voice to use when dealing with de-facto unelected governments, and using that voice, they've gained workplace safety, overtime pay, the 40 hour work week, better wages, protection from arbitrary and capricious firings, intimidation. Not perfect protection - the corporate dictatorships are trying harder than ever to reassert totalitarian power over employees, but it's through unions that we have what we've got.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 11:59 AM

26. Agree

We are playing their game, and to lose.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:57 PM

48. Agree completely (n/t)

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Mon Feb 25, 2013, 11:42 PM

4. Saying 'illegal aliens' is very non-progressive

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:46 PM

44. Very true. It legitimizes the concept of "illegal people"

It's dehumanizing and is almost always used as a fig leaf for racism.

Which means I'm likely to bite the head off anyone who uses the term "illegals" to refer to people. It sets off my bigotry alarm instantly.

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 12:03 AM

5. Newt Gingrich's "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control" (1990)

Democrats should be aware of:

Newt Gingrich's "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control" (1990)

google: Language: A Key Mechanism of Control
http://www.google.com/search?q=Language:+A+Key+Mechanism+of+Control

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 12:50 AM

9. "Can we stop saying pro-life?"

Indeed, since almost all "pro-lifers" are in favor of capitel punishment.

My favorite put down, and I can't recall now who said it, is "Let's just say that life begins at erection and be done with it."

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Response to JayhawkSD (Reply #9)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 09:34 PM

35. Here's another

Quoting, but I don't remember who said/wrote it about the anti-choicers: "Life begins at conception and ends at birth."

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Response to NastyRiffraff (Reply #35)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 11:05 PM

50. George Carlin, perhaps?



And there's another great frame.

"pro-life" is actually Anti-Woman. They believe a woman's primary function is to act as a brood-mare for the state.

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 01:19 AM

11. 3. Wage slave economy

7. Forced birth. They are even trying to pass laws that would make some form or rather most forms of contraception illegal.

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Response to Kalidurga (Reply #11)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 02:43 AM

17. It's Pro Slavery

See my post #16 up thread for explanation.

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 01:27 AM

12. Our position isn't left or center left.

It's in the middle. We're normal; they're not.

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Response to The Wizard (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:53 PM

47. Excellent! The right-wing is the extremist wing. n/t

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 02:01 AM

14. Shared resources isn't a good alternative for "the environment."

That vague term could include the federal highway system, among other shared resources.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #14)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 02:08 AM

15. Agree.

Shared resources is also anthropocentric. It puts people as consumers at the centre of the environment instead of showing how we exist within, are constrained by and are a part of that environment.

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 03:38 AM

18. Several of these strike me as deliberate attempts to obfuscate, in some cases dangerously so.

I think the one I disagree with most is "undocumented residents" - the issue is not simply that people come to America without filling in all the necessary paperwork, but that they do so in deliberate direct defiance of the law; trying to take the word "illegal" out of the discussion is trying to obfuscate rather than enlighten, and while it may help win the political debate if the people you're debating with are dumb, it's still not something we should stoop to. "Illegal immigrants" isn't a loaded or biased term, it's a fair and accurate description (although I don't approve of shortening it to just "illegals", as I've sometimes seen done).

Several of the others are likewise extremely misleading, in some ways dangerously so - if you talk about "earned benefits", you're playing into the hands of those who want to take them away from e.g. new immigrants, people who have never been employed or paid tax, etc, who haven't "earned" them. The point is that in a civilized society no-one - even those who haven't "earned" it - should starve to death. That said, "entitlements" is also a loaded and not terribly illuminating term.

Referring to the environment as "shared resources" will just lead to people looking at you in puzzlement as they try to work out what you're talking about. Ditto with "unelected government".

"Gun safety" is already a thing; it's not the same as "gun control" - one is having guns and taking steps to reduce the risk they pose to those around you, the other is not having guns.

And "socialised risk, privatised profits" is a genuine issue of concern, but it's not a synonym for "free market capitalism".



I do agree that "pro-life" and "right to work" are both misleading phrases we should be avoiding, though.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #18)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:55 AM

20. Gun safety has to be about controlling guns, it is essential to it. It is a fantasy to think we can

have all the guns we want and still be safe. "Public safety" has to include making more guns less available, if not scarce. But if we automatically default into swooning on our couch with a "ah, me, nothing can be done..." attitude, it won't happen. It just won't.

It is time for gun people here on DU to face the fact that when they intone the Heller decision as some kind of writ from God, they are essentially supporting the extreme right wing of the republican party. Look at the men who decided that case. We are DEMOCRATIC Underground, folks.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #18)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 12:54 PM

30. I think some of these terms are partly accurate.

"earned benefits" for example can be a good description of SS or medicare but the umbrella of "entitlement programs" covers many things that are earned as well as some that have no per-existing requirements.

Government spending CAN be "investment in America", but I don't think it necessarily is.

I agree on "undocumented residents", it's an intentional obfuscation of an issue. Why not just go all the way and call them "residents", if you don't care WHY they are undocumented, why do you care about the documentation at all? Why even mention it? I don't have a problem with trying to frame issues in a better light, but I don't think it does our side any good to attempt to hide an issue with euphemisms.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #18)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 11:00 PM

49. I absolutely object to the term "illegal alien" or worse, calling them "illegals".

That's right-wing framing, which we need to call out. And it's dehumanizing - I find the entire concept of illegal people to be abhorrent.

What makes them "illegal"? A bunch of racist douchebags in Congress created a law declaring them to be "illegal".

And this state of "illegality" is mutable. An undocumented resident that has enough money and know-how to get a really good immigration attorney can manage to get a judge to halt any deportation orders, let him have a green card, and eventually let him become a citizen. Of course, if you're "illegal", poor, don't understand the laws, you probably won't be able to pull off this trick, so you've got the threat of arrest, imprisonment and deportation hanging over your head, which your employer uses to keep you hoeing beets in 100 degree weather for $2.00 per hour - get uppity and ICE disappears your ass.

I think a better term is Enslaved Immigrants.

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Response to backscatter712 (Reply #49)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 01:24 PM

53. I think there's a scale from "illegal immigrant" to "illegal alien" to "illegal".

The first is clearly the best term - it makes it clear precisely what the issue is, and it doesn't imply that it's the existence - as opposed to the immigration - of such people that it illegal.

"Illegal aliens" and "illegals" are both better than "undocumented migrants" or your "enslaved migrants", but neither is a term I'd use or like to see used, because - as you say - they carry connotations that it is not merely a specific action of the person, but their very being, that is illegal. I don't agree with you that they're inherently right-wing framing, but I do think they're suboptimal shorthands.

I laughed out loud at your second paragraph - it's completely right, and clearly not intended to be. What illegal *means* is "against the law" - that is, against the law made by the democratically-elected "racist douchebags" in Congress (and other legislative bodies). The immigration of illegal immigrants is illegal in exactly the same way any illegal act is illegal, and that's the only sense the word "illegal" has - it has nothing to do with any "higher moral law". Until nineteenmumble, it was just as illegal for a black person to ride in the front of a bus as it was to commit murder. By all means argue that there's nothing *morally* wrong with breaking a bad law, but don't conflate that with it not being illegal.

"Enslaved immigrants" is an excellent term for the small but not minute minority of illegal (or occasionally legal) immigrants who are forced into involuntary labour - people-trafficking is a serious problem, as to a lesser extent is economic exploitation of illegal immigrants (although there's a wide range of the latter that doesn't amount to slavery, and shouldn't be hyperbolised as such). Using it to refer to the large majority of illegal immigrants who are not, or to exclude the few legal immigrants who get de facto enslaved, is foolish, however.

There is no term but "illegal immigrants" which accurately and unbiasedly indicates that set of people and no others.

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:19 AM

19. Aw, shoot -- I was hoping "speak truth to power" was on here somewhere.

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 11:31 AM

22. "unelected government" to refer to big bidness...

...my favorite by far. After all, who is controlling our culture? Washington or Wall Street/Madison Avenue?

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 11:50 AM

23. Entitlements:

Entitlements: Instead, try: Obligations.

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Response to rrneck (Reply #23)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 12:42 PM

29. That's good. eom

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Response to rrneck (Reply #23)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:50 PM

45. I think earned-benefits is the best frame.

Everyone who's worked for a living in this country has paid into Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. We paid for these programs, which means that morally speaking, we have a right to expect to make use of them when we're ready. We earned them.

The term Earned benefits needs to be applied to pensions - there's the idea that pensions are something that aren't real, or are a mere bonus for people if the economy's good. No. If you paid into a pension where you worked, you've earned the right to have the pension pay out when you retire. If your pension isn't there, you've been robbed. Again, you earned it.

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Response to backscatter712 (Reply #45)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 12:59 PM

52. I think we earn profit.

We are entitled to a basic existence. Income disparity happens when the haves are able to tell the have nots what they have to do for the haves to be haves themselves. The wealthy have unlimited power to raise the bar of effort for their own enrichment. That's why necessary services have become the biggest profit centers in our economy. Health care, housing, energy and defense are all profiteering opportunities for those who no longer have to expend any energy at all for their wealth.

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 12:28 PM

27. Gun Regulation

instead of "gun control".

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:37 PM

31. Not surprising

but you left out....."gay marriage" = "marriage equality".

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 09:10 PM

32. i prefer late comers for illegals. we just got here earlier. unless you are native americans

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 09:24 PM

33. Though there is disagreement about the terms to use, this is a very important idea.

The Republicans have been using this crap against Democrats for years.

Hands down that we should replace "entitlements" - which implies something we didn't earn - with earned benefits. They ARE, after all, earned benefits. I am not entitled to it, I paid into it for my whole working life, trusted that it would be invested for me as I was promised, and I want my money back.

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 09:26 PM

34. Instead of Republican: Be more apropos, "use shit eating crazed scum bag.." but only

in polite company.

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 09:50 PM

36. Well said

and for number one, I'll stick with "Plutocrats."

Thanks.

PTxS

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:04 PM

40. Reponsibility

They used to call Entitlements Responsibility - Responsibility to our children, our elders, our people, etc.

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:12 PM

41. Entitlements ARE "earned benefits"

That is what an "entitlement" IS. You paid into it, you are entitled to receive it.

It is not welfare which is means-tested.

For crying out loud, I wish this nonsense would stop.

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:51 PM

46. K&R! Framing is very important!

If we can't master the art of framing our arguments, the Cruelty Party will drink our milkshakes.

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Response to ashling (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 11:58 PM

51. Thanks ashling! n/t

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