|The NDTDW board is discussing the best way to proceed in leading our members and those who have signed up for Indivisible in the current situation where a huge number of Indivisible Groups and others, such as Liberty Tree, Resist, Pantsuits Nation, etc., etc. are all competing for your attention and action. We are all bombarded with information, requests for action and, of course, your money.
As a result, NDTDW has decided that we need to develop our specific focus within this quagmire which is diluting, in our opinion, the effectiveness of the actions we choose.
Many of us have attended the first two sessions of The Resistance School which is an on-line project from students from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
In the first session, Dr. Timothy McCarthy discussed “How to Communicate Our Values in Political Advocacy”. He emphasized that as Democrats, we need to reclaim the values movement which the GOP has hypocritically claimed as their own. We need to become moral leaders by claiming our history and communicate our values more effectively. First step is for us as individuals and a group, discern what exactly do we believe is right and wrong and determine how to best “walk the walk”, find our moral courage and talk about those moral values. To do that we need to find our “frame”. Think George Lakoff’s “Don’t Think of and Elephant”. (More about him later). The GOP is great at this and as progressives, we need to catch up and usurp their frames and adjust them to make them our own. Think of “Pro-Life” vs “Reproductive Rights”. And most effectively we need to weave our stories (stories of struggle, revelation stories, aspiration stories, coming out stories (revealing things we have been hiding) into the communications of our values to those who don’t think they share our values.
Last night, Sara El-Amine, one of the foremost leaders on grassroots and digital advocacy, and the former Executive Director of President Obama’s advocacy arm gave us guidelines to “Turn and Tide: How to Mobilize and Organize Our Communities”. Sara talked about leadership models which do and don’t work emphasizing that a “strong team” or Snowflake model works best. (This is the model the OFA used so successfully in the Obama campaigns.)
What Sara lead us to was the premise that what we can be doing right now is to reach out to persuadables, whether they are individuals, groups or our Representatives. And what do we want to persuade them about? The Progressive values represented by the Democratic Party. How do you persuade? No facts. No lecturing. Ask questions. Find shared values. Relate to one another on basic levels of values. And share your stories. Just think of IRS (no, not the tax people). I = Inquire. R = Relate, S = Share.
So what NDTDW is proposing to do, is using the snowflake model with the board in the middle, recruit team leaders to work on the value issues and framing we need to do to lay the groundwork for winning in 2018. And we are changing the name of this project to: NDTDW Persuasion. We already have two teams set up and running: our GOTV (Get out the Vote) group working on voter registration, and our NextGen group working on strategies to involve our younger generations. We will be asking them to start focusing on the values within their area of responsibility and to working on effective framing.
To these two groups, we want to set up other groups to focus on specific issues, developing the values and frames for those topics. Initially, we want to set up teams for “Healthcare” specifically working to save “ObamaCare” and Education. We will be open to adding other groups as you all suggest them. But for now, let us start with these two. Following the Snowflake model, we need team leaders (chairwomen) for the group and those that want to work on these issues.
So, if you want to do something and really get involved beyond protesting (which never persuades anyone to change their mind) and calling your representatives (which you need to continue doing), email us and we will get you all togeather to get started. A great start to the Healthcare issue is to attend our NDTDW meeting on April 27th when Jessica Kelton, with a background in economics and a former college professor who has studied the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) since its inception, will give us a new viewpoint. She believes that she has an unstoppable case against the Republican’s attack on the ACA and she will be sharing it with us in “The Libertarian Case for Obamacare”. She will give us some training around a simple framework to make the case for fixing, not repealing, the ACA.
As to you Indivisible members, if you want to continue on with that movement, we suggest that you sign-up with Indivisible DFW which seems to be a hub for Indivisible activities.
George Lakoff is a Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley, where he has taught since 1972. He will be speaking at the Dallas Democratic Forum along with Texas Political Strategist with Progress Texas, Glenn Smith on April 24th. Click here to see what George is currently blogging about. If you care about framing our issues, this is a must attend. It is a luncheon at the Belo Mansion at Ross & Olive. The cost is $40 for non-members, but it is a really good lunch and you can’t beat the topic “Framing the Progressive Message In the Age of Trump”!