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Thu Mar 22, 2012, 09:42 AM

5 Words And Phrases Democrats Should Never Say Again

From a great Alternet post on using accurate language:

1. Never say Entitlements.

–Instead, say Earned Benefits.

2. Never say Redistribution of Wealth.

–Instead, say Fair Wages For Work.

3. Never say Employer Paid Health Insurance.

–Instead, say Employee Earned Health Insurance.

4. Never say Government Spending.

–Instead, say The People Are Investing.

5. Never say Corporate America.

–Instead, say Unelected Corporate Government.

Full article with great analysis here: http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/863927/5_words_and_phrases_democrats_should_never_say_again/

28 replies, 2859 views

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Arrow 28 replies Author Time Post
Reply 5 Words And Phrases Democrats Should Never Say Again (Original post)
ProgressiveATL Mar 2012 OP
LiberalEsto Mar 2012 #1
libtodeath Mar 2012 #2
Cirque du So-What Mar 2012 #3
Autumn Colors Mar 2012 #7
Cirque du So-What Mar 2012 #8
lonestarnot Mar 2012 #4
Obamanaut Mar 2012 #5
Lil Missy Mar 2012 #6
Blue_Tires Mar 2012 #9
lumberjack_jeff Mar 2012 #10
polichick Mar 2012 #11
lumberjack_jeff Mar 2012 #13
polichick Mar 2012 #16
magical thyme Mar 2012 #14
lumberjack_jeff Mar 2012 #15
magical thyme Mar 2012 #17
Blue_Tires Mar 2012 #21
lumberjack_jeff Mar 2012 #23
treestar Mar 2012 #12
jtuck004 Mar 2012 #18
meow2u3 Mar 2012 #25
jtuck004 Mar 2012 #26
SalviaBlue Mar 2012 #19
RZM Mar 2012 #20
Stan Smith Mar 2012 #22
arely staircase Mar 2012 #24
dougolat Mar 2012 #27
bvar22 Mar 2012 #28

Response to ProgressiveATL (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 09:43 AM

1. K&R

Thanks for posting this

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Response to ProgressiveATL (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 09:43 AM

2. K&R

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Response to ProgressiveATL (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 09:51 AM

3. Good points all

Last edited Thu Mar 22, 2012, 10:59 AM - Edit history (1)

For too long, Republicans have co-opted terms for their own nefarious purposes. Time to snatch the narrative away from them.

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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #3)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 10:36 AM

7. Did you mean to say Republicans in your post? (nt)

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Response to Autumn Colors (Reply #7)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 10:59 AM

8. I did indeed

Thanks for pointing that out; it is now amended.

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Response to ProgressiveATL (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 10:04 AM

4. Here here!

K & R!

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Response to ProgressiveATL (Original post)


Response to ProgressiveATL (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 10:14 AM

6. Good read. n/t

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Response to ProgressiveATL (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 11:02 AM

9. major kick

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Response to ProgressiveATL (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 11:08 AM

10. Initial reaction: Bullshit.

Entitlement is the perfect word for Social Security because you are entitled to the benefit if you experience the event for which the insurance indemnifies you. Social Security is Old Age and Survivor and Disability Insurance. If you reach old age, are afflicted with a disability or if your spouse dies, you are entitled to the benefit in exchange for your years of paying premiums (taxes).

This process of the right wing turning words into pejoratives (e.g. "liberal") and we, in turn, inventing new words, is crap. A good working definition of "entitlement" is "earned benefit". Why use two when one works fine?... unless the basic concept of a social contract between you and your government is a bad thing.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #10)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 11:52 AM

11. Well, we either have to be proud of these words and explain what...

...they really mean (let's face it, many voters are idiots) - or we have to use more descriptive words that don't require as much explanation.

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Response to polichick (Reply #11)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 12:07 PM

13. I'm with George Carlin. "The phrase Shell Shock works just fine".



With the exception of #3 None of these suggested replacement phrases are simpler or any less subject to explanation.

"employer paid premiums" implies that it is somehow different than "employer paid salaries". It's all compensation - it's all the employee's money that he or she got in exchange for working.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #13)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 12:20 PM

16. Carlin is talking about the move to phrases that mean less and less...

Carlin and the op don't disagree - the point is to use words that paint an accurate picture.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #10)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 12:08 PM

14. Initial reaction: it's about time

PR and marcom work on your unconscious. It is a waste of precious time and energy to try to remove the emotional pejoratives implied in terms such as entitlement.

Yes, we are entitled to what we have earned. However, like it or not, that is a loaded word.

I would add to stop referring to a woman's uterus as a "womb." One is simply a part of the body. The second is a word loaded with emotional content. In the same way that we call an zygote, embryo and fetus what they are, not what they may or may not become some day.

Republicans choose language that takes a shortcut past people's rational mind directly into the primal limbic system. Time to bring discussion back to the rational mind.

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #14)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 12:14 PM

15. But they didn't choose that language.

"entitlement" is what it's been called for a very long time. What Republicans have done is to deprecate the idea that you might have an enforceable obligation against power.

Now, obligations only go one way; the powerful impose obligations on the powerless. If you're a bank, you bet that you're entitled to the terms on the contract. If you're an individual? Not so much.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #15)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 01:00 PM

17. what republicans have done

is play on the negative connotations of the word 'entitlement.'

So by changing the language to use words that either do not come with an emotional load, you can redirect the conversation where it needs to be.

Or, by using the phrase "earned benefits" redirect the emotional content to something that is more accurate.

There are dictionary definitions of words, legal definitions of words, clinical definitions of words, and vernacular language. The GOP uses the vernacular definition to their benefit. They didn't invent the vernacular use of "entitled." It had the perjorative use when I was a kid over 50 years ago, and I'm sure before that. "So and so thinks she's entitled to special treatment." Somebody who put themselves above others.

Dems have got to stop being so freakin' pedantic, and start using language in the vernacular *when it suits their goals* to do so, and stop using it legalistically when doing so *opposes their goals*.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #10)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 05:27 PM

21. The problem is after 20+ years of continual RW framing

with NO proper counter-attack, you're not going to change the public perception of these words overnight, or even in a few years...

Go out and ask 10 people what they think of when they hear "entitlement"... Probably 8 of them will say:

"People (usually minorities) who get something for nothing"
"Welfare/unemployment recipients"
"All those benefits for illegal immigrants"
"A waste/theft of my tax dollars"

I bet even at this moment some GOP candidate is getting a partisan crowd in a fury over how much these "entitlement programs" are stealing from them...

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #21)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 06:54 PM

23. The linguistic backpedaling has no end. It's all retreat, not just from the words but the concepts.

Conservatives have made a pejorative of the word "welfare" for christ sake.

"In one sentence, Glenn Beck tied one of the most positive words in the English language (empathy) to Hitler."



I keep hoping that someone will stand up and defend the concepts which underlie the simple positive words that are under assault.

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Response to ProgressiveATL (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 11:54 AM

12. Very good

We all pay into those systems - conservatives try to pretend there are two separate sets of people - the ones who pay in and the ones who get the pay outs. They have gotten away with that far too long.

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Response to ProgressiveATL (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 01:54 PM

18. George Lakoff wrote an article concerning this

said liberals are reinforcing conservative belief systems when they write or talk in a way that negates each point, as above. His research indicates that offering conservative words first reinforces physical pathways that contain those values in their thinking. Article
What is being reinforced?

"The idealized conservative family is structured around a strict father who is the natural leader of the family, who is assumed to know right from wrong, whose authority is absolute and unchallengeable, who is masculine, makes decisions about reproduction, and who sets the rules -- in short, the Decider. Children must be taught right from wrong through strict discipline, which is required to be moral. This maps onto the nation. To be prosperous in a free market, one must be fiscally disciplined. If you are not prosperous, you must not be disciplined, and if you are not disciplined, you cannot be moral, and so you deserve your poverty."

Their scary-ass ideas about government, torturing women, increasing poverty - all of that vile crap stems from this. Praise the Lord, as Santorum might say.

His suggestion would probably be to avoid writing lists like this and put the negative after, if at all. (I'm guessing here).

These Are Progressive Moral Values, Don't use the Language of the Radical Right

1. Talk about how we Earn our Benefits, such as Social Security.

2. People who work deserve Fair Wages.

3. Employees EARN their Health Insurance, paid from their Wages.

4. Your taxes are your Investment in your neighborhood, city and country. Argue about how it is invested.

5. Who should decide, You or an Unelected Corporate Government? We think YOUR voice should count for more.

One could then go on to talk about how opponents will try to twist your words. Don't let 'em.

I think he has a point. You want to be able to argue the real merits, and calling things entitlements or corporate in those contexts immediately shifts the argument to something else.

That's just me, though, ymmv.

Thank you for this. Training for the masses.

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #18)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 07:53 PM

25. Personally, I prefer to frame #5 this way.

5. Who should decide, you or some Unelected Corporate Dictator from Wall Street? YOUR voice should matter more to government officials than that of some unelected corporate middleman.

In other words, let's stop calling unelected corporate governors special interests/lobbyists and start using corporate hit men in its place.

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Response to meow2u3 (Reply #25)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 08:46 PM

26. yeah, I like that too. Thank you. n/t

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Response to ProgressiveATL (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 02:00 PM

19. I like them all. Thanks.

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Response to ProgressiveATL (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 02:39 PM

20. Agree with most except for number 5

 

Many elected Democrats would look pretty ridiculous saying that, since they get plenty of corporate money too and support some policies that are favorable to corporations. Not only that, it would imply that Democrats are weak and aren't 'really' governing. I doubt many would go for that.

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Response to ProgressiveATL (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 05:30 PM

22. I love this list!

For too long the republicans have used their cute terms for things and scared people away from things that will not only benefit them greatly, but all of us. If they had any brains they would realize that everything we stand for will make their lives better, and give them more freedom.

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Response to ProgressiveATL (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 07:37 PM

24. good list, i would add to that

they should never (and they are so bad about this) violate the number one rule of public debate - repeating your opponents baseless acusations.

too many times i have heard dem politicians say things like "i am not unpatriotic and i do not molest children, in fact i blah, blah blah."

and all the low information "swing voter" gets is "i heard something about that democrat being unpatriotic and molesting children."

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Response to ProgressiveATL (Original post)

Fri Mar 23, 2012, 04:53 AM

27. another: "Privatize" Instead, say Profitize nt

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Response to ProgressiveATL (Original post)

Fri Mar 23, 2012, 09:24 AM

28. Never say "Payroll Tax".

Instead say "FICA Contributions"
or
"Federal Insurance Deductions".

"Payroll Tax" is Republican framing worthy of Luntz.

FICA, or Federal Insurance Contributions, IS the funding source for Social Security.
Until recently, it was completely separate from General Revenue,
did not contribute to the Deficit, and was projected to be in the black until 2037.
Sadly, this is no longer true.





You will know them by their WORKS,
not by their excuses.
Solidarity99!
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