Reading bits and pieces of the liberal reaction to the conservative story of the “Obamaphone,” I am once again disappointed in my fellow progressives. The radical right’s communication machine was dragging us and now walks peacefully with Americans as we destroy our constitutional freedoms. They keep getting better at it and we keep helping them.
The radical right (or conservatives, the Republican Party, the Tea Party) understand how our minds work. People understand everything through metaphors. We feel our reality. They use majestic broad strokes, realizing it’s the whole painting that matters. We will feel what they want us to feel (fear, in particular) when we are exposed to powerful metaphors that reach all of our senses. It’s a story of a Black woman getting a phone from a Black man. It’s the Black man giving our money to greedy (lazy), ignorant Black people. We feel it without any facts.
Then, there is the typical weak and disorganized progressive (or liberal, Democratic Party) response. First, it’s not much. Second, it’s peck-peck-pecking away at facts-facts-facts. No broader picture with metaphors we can feel and understand. We’re so distracted by the blatant inaccuracies/lies put out by the radical right’s communication machine, we miss the whole point. And, we have no communications machine. We have no way to keep our messages consistent — using the same metaphors across the liberal/progressive media to make clear how much we value freedom, caring, and responsibility. We peck-peck-peck. No shared concept of the larger picture we ought to be painting.
Until they click on the image to see the larger picture, rare is the person who would have a clue about the complete painting created with the help of this tiny pointillistic image.
We need our own metaphors. We need clear and direct communications among all our factions to determine our own larger pictures. Consistency. No individual responses, peck-peck-pecking at tiny images that don’t even come close to communicating—through feelings—our important message of valuing freedom, caring, and responsibility.