Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I was lucky enough tonight to hear George Lakoff talk about politics and language. One thing I came away with is a deep desire for political conversations where everything is right out there for anyone to see. That's what happened tonight and that's what happens here.

Lakoff covered a huge amount of ground, and I hope to be able to find it out on the Tubes and share it. But in the meantime, I have this question: Is transparency a fundamental value that progressives and conservatives share?

Please kindly note that this is an example of transparency.




How many of you know anything about the progressive coalition called Blueprint NC that delivered the Lakoff event?

It seems to me that BlueNC should be part of that coalition.

Hmmmm. I wonder what it costs?

Any guesses?

If by conservative you're

talking about true conservatives, I would have to say they value transparency also. Our goals are different, yes: we want positive change and progress (action), while they prefer slow or no change, but we both share a distrust of backroom deals.

For us, backroom deals (we believe) are most often done by those who would avoid progress, while conservatives believe changes are being made without their knowledge.

That's just my opinion, though.

Lakoff talked about fathers

Stern father. The father land. The father of the country. Family values. Father figure. Etc.

Isn't there's a bias against transparency among authoritarians.

Oh yeah, no doubt.

Isn't there's a bias against transparency among authoritarians.

And they might be able to come up with several seemingly valid reasons for it—like a father telling a child, "One of these days I'll tell you about it, but you're not old enough to understand."

But in most cases, an authoritarian's desire for a lack of transparency is rooted in fear; fear of those under him gaining knowledge that will make them less dependent on him for guidance.

The conversation got around to God

during the Lakoff discussion.

To paraphrase (not by much) what George said when describing emotional and cognitive processing related to the fundamentalists' God:

"Do what I say or I'll send you to hell."

That's where a lot of it comes from, I'm afraid.

Many people in this country believe in a God

my fundamental believe is their is a God. I live my life with that as a core belief.

When I did make decisions for folks, I did not place my God's desires into the equation, yes, my thoughts were biased toward my core beliefs, but the decision was based on the instruction or rule the individual broke.

If I ever run for a public office (was not ready this go around), yes I will bring my God with me to my office. But I also acknowledge that many people do not accept my God. They either have their own God, or no god. All laws of man are for Man governing man. In this country, their is no law that states you must find a god and this is the way to do it.

When I support a law, resolution, etc. it will be to support the basic premise of man doing good to fellow man. Of man protecting the basic concept of freedom of happiness for all man. So long as your actions do not inappropriately impact another person, then I feel you should be allowed to do that. That is what a law or any other government proposed legislation should be looking at.

At the county level, that would seem relatively easily to maintain. With practice, that same thought process could be moved higher.

I would not want to bring a God's thought process of

"Do what I say or I'll send you to hell."

to the seat as that is inappropriate. You have to bring to the seat the knowledge that people do not even accept that God, or a god exists and make laws/decisions with all that in mind.

I think that true progressive and true conservative

individuals very much agree on the need for transparency in the way government is conducted.
What I have found is that the Political Parties, both Republican and Democratic do not share the same ideals of openess that individual members of their party do.
The Parties themselves very much enjoy their backroom dealings, and that has a lot to do with power.

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

While I think most folks wish for transparency in gov

the individuals who are in government are leary of transparency. They do not want people to know the true depth of thier knowledge (or lack of knowledge) of the situation.

With that, they will "back door" meeting things to figure out what stance as a body they want to be at. To figure out some little bit of idea of just what is proposed in front of them. They will then come to an meeting that is "open" to the public, but will already have their minds made up with what facts they have. IF someone in the audience has a valid argument that was not briefed before, they will not know what to do or how to handle this new data. They then feel they are made to look foolish, stupid, not learned. They will not be willing to ask for additional time based on this new data.

Speaking from my county of only 11,000 people, I have seen this with my commissioners. Speaking from past military experience where I had to call my officer "in the bed" and if I had to wake him up 5 - 20 times a night to keep him informed, he was happy. He did not want to go to his superior or meet his superior at breakfast and not have a brief or idea of what happened while he slept.

So to me, it is human nature to want to protect both the "mystique" of the office as well as "aurora" of the man thus making government translucent and not allowing for a true transparent government.

I would bet that the founding fathers held their meetings in private and did not let the general public know what their intentions were until solidified (think that guy swinging at the gallows might have had something to do with this also). I also bet even after we gained our freedom from England, that the decisions were made in a translucent government, and not a transparent government.

I believe that most leaders (except those that work in Dictator or heavily in Authoritarian leadership mode) would love to work in a transparent government.

They just do not know how.

Depending on who is making the decision on both sides, or from any point of view, when the decision is made in our favor or down our thought process it is "wow, xxxx finally is seeing the light", or "yipie, another proper move by our government". When a decision is made that we do not like, it is "They are agenda driven", "they do not care" or "dang, wonder why they went down that road" depending on party affiliation.

Until we only have one party in this country (which will put us in a "dictator to Authoritarian" form of government) we will always have "lack of transparency" in government. Once we do have only one party, it will not be run in transparent or translucent mode.

There is a quote about absolute authority begets absolute power but the connotation of that quote shows only bad things happening.

I would love for a strong third party to step to the plate. Then we would have some serious checks and balance. We would have a congress that actually had to work with each other across the isle. This would cause transparency as people would have to explain why they are crossing or nothing would get done and that person would be voted out. I know decisions and compromises would happen.

I do not advocate for a one party government. I feel this country is better served (albeit slower) with a congress that is divided. Then representatives have to work for all the people and not just the majority of the people. (electoral collage comes to mind here).

fixed the link.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Thanks for fixing it

NC Policy Watch released Lakoff's speech, in mp3 format.
You can listen here
Hope I did this one right :)
No I didn't when I actually checked the link.
I believe its right this time.

Lakoff is a genius

His work helped me understand why "they" don't get me, and why I don't get "them." I really hate the "us" and "them" mindset, but that's because I'm one of "us".

BlueprintNC doesn't appear to have a website, but an old description I found said

Blueprint NC is a partnership of state-level public policy, advocacy, and grassroots organizing groups dedicated to achieving a better, fairer, healthier North Carolina through the development of an integrated communications, civic engagement, and policy strategy. Organizations involved represent a diverse range of issues, including the environment, poverty, community development, affordable housing, reproductive rights, immigrant rights, education, children’s issues, criminal justice, and more. They are united by the shared values of justice, equality, responsibility, fairness, community, opportunity, shared prosperity, democracy, and hope.

Sounds like people we should get to know.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

after most folks left last night

Mr. Lakoff answered a few questions and one of them was about how to talk to wealthy progressives about funding a progressive umbrella organization to combat the forces of "the rich are better people" conservatism -- the kind of conservatism promoted by the likes of the Puppetshow. I believe this organization, BlueprintNC, was mentioned somewhere in the question.

Mr. Lakoff talked about the general narratives we understand in our culture and finding the one that fits what a progressive umbrella funding organization would do to help raise up progressive think tanks and media work.

I think his suggestion was to use a hero narrative, keeping in mind that to be successful the hero in a democratic society is not a leader on a white horse who rushes in to save us from the big bad wolves. The hero in a democratic culture must always be/is always the common people ... but the funding for common people to organize, hire professional support staff, and to just do the work to help themselves ... must be there. And if there were one umbrella organization managing the money and paying organizing staff, much more real work could be done more efficiently.

BTW, I just heard on the morning local news that the NC SBOE is registering TWICE the number of voter registrations in the first months of 2008 over the same period in 2004.

I feel the ground shaking, y'all ... under the steps of our hero -- the people -- rising up. And I have GOT to get me some of this guy's buttons!!!

Milton Glaser

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Yes and No.

I was a big Lakoff supporter. But, then I remember hearing John Edwards talking and asking his audience why Democrats were afraid to talk about and stand up for the things they believed in. Why did they have to use weasel words like "Access to Health Care" and "Affordable Health Care" instead of Universal Health Care. Now look, EVERYONE is talking about universal health care. His willingness to stand up for what he believed in, to not focus on weasel words and not worry about being demonized led to the Democratic Party finding its backbone.

I don't want to go back to the time when we hide behind words that obfuscate what we believe in, while at the same time I think we must frame our arguments against the Republican Frames. I also think we could go a long way by "Fuzzy Math"ing their frames. If we could make everyone understand that what they are talking about it bull@#^ with no basis in substance, just a pretty name.

"That's just another Republican Paris Hilton plan, all window-dressing and makeup, no substance."

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Getting elected in a non transparent world

Being transparent means saying what you see and believe. For so many years I have felt that the elections are won by clever marketing not by truth sayers.

I see JRE as an example of someone who was transparent. He thought our biggest challenge was how we treat the least among us. The corruption of making a good life off the backs of others is what has led to a decline in our democratic govt.

So...what Lakoff's book did for show that the Republican Party has developed ways to market their beliefs in ways that connect to what people believe.

We all believe in clean skies. Clean Skies acts

we dont believe in a tax on death. Anti Death Tax.

Whereas the Democratic Party has offered long complex paragraphs about policy....that were less transparent in a way. The devil is in the details... There was bound to be something in the long paragraphs that either you did not believe in or you did not understand, or you stopped listening anyway out of boredom.

Lakoff was sold out so I did not get there. But his books are good.