A Frame for Framing
(Originally published in Greater Democracy)
Recently, progressives have discovered ‘framing’, or how to talk about their beliefs in a way that other people will listen and respond. Granted, there are all kinds of bells and whistles about how to do this effectively, however, a friend recently wrote down these thoughts (with a little minor editing of my own) about what we really need to be doing.
Get in touch with your own values; know them well. Engage in respectful discussions with people with different viewpoints. Do not argue. Do not be vitriolic. Express your values and find common ground with the person you’ve been talking with. Shake hands over your newfound friend; go buy him or her a beer. Participate in the local culture. Watch a Sitcom, go to a little league game, attend a PTA meeting, and chat at a beauty salon. Embrace and smile, knowing we are all Americans after all.
It seems as if some people, especially progressives, need a complicated program to understand the Jungian aspects of language to get back to a core principle, to get out and talk with people, and do it politely. While this might not exactly be Framing in a Lakoffian context, it is the basis of communications.
Many Christians, out there seeking to spread their beliefs have understood the importance of this for years.
So, we need people to understand their values, and by this we mean more than just the value of a toothbrush at Walmart. We need people to understand to core principles of what they believe and talk in a friendly way with others about these principles.
This isn’t just good advice for progressives. The nation would be much better off if we all learned to act this way.