Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Reframes for rural issues

Heck, I'll just go ahead and do this because I liked dKos poster badger's ideas so much. Great discussion on reframes for rural issues within this Stirling Newberry dKos diary . Giving credit to badger, here are some of his ideas for reframing:
    Forget gay marriage - stand up for full equal rights regardless of sexual orientation (in other words, the same thing without the label). Forget a woman's right to choose - go with Clinton's "abortion should be safe, legal and rare" or standup for not overturning Roe v. Wade. Make the assault weapons ban and gun-show background checks part of a larger anti-crime bill - forget the words "gun control".

    Forget about being anti-logging or acting like cutting a single tree is environmental sacrilege. My radical environmentalist neighbors here criticize me for not cutting enough trees close to my house. They thin their forest. Go back to a policy of intelligent forestry and forest management (that includes protecting old-growth forests and wilderness areas and not caving to big lumber companies).

    Same thing with hunting and game management.

    Shoot anybody who advocates breaching dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers for the good of the fish. We've (and we is correct - the county owns the dams here and we elect the utility officers) have spent millions to route fish around dams up and downstream. Californian's don't want to pay $1 per kilowatt hour, and we don't want to pay more than the 3 cents/kwH we pay now. Wheat farmers and fruit growers will be out of business without irrigation (most WA apples grow in what's really a desert - where it's wet in WA they grow airplanes and software)

    I'm sure there are similar issues in farming areas - suburban sprawl leading to complaints about farm smells, barnyard waste collection systems (this is prohibitively expensive without some kind of subsidy), price supports for small farmers. I've been out of that kind of area for nearly 10 years and I'm not sure what their specific hot button issues are anymore.

    There are two main points:

    Understand rural issues or attitudes before framing issue positions that affect rural voters (esp on environmental issues, but also religious/social issues). We know the difference between good and bad logging and know how to make life hell for the District Ranger. We go to court (and win) when issues become critical. You need lumber and we need jobs.
    Realize that rural voters have been sold a bill of goods for years. When you say "gun control" they hear "take away my guns". We had an extremely liberal Dem make this point at a party meeting last week "I own a deer rifle and a .38 and I don't have a problem controlling them". To underscore this, we had one murder in our area last year - at a traffic stop someone fought the officer, got the cop's gun and shot him dead. We don't worry about guns here, and no amount of emotional appeals will change our minds. We worry about crime, especially when we go to big cities, and we can believe that background checks will help catch criminals and reduce crime.
    Nobody's asking for compromise - just for understanding and intelligent positions. Otherwise, we'll keep electing the same redneck Representative, and he knows he doesn't have to compromise because he's got a safe seat you can't touch.
    Most of the issues above will cost an election here if framed incorrectly or over-emphasized.
I'm summarizing his stuff here:
Full equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation.
Anti-crime bill as the larger issue, but include assault weapons ban and background checks.
Intelligent forestry and forest management.

There's more. Stirling Newberry also points out the need to look at religious and nationalist language. What would be good reframes there?

I dunno. My sense would be to stick with the affirmative, keep it simple, stay with our moral values. By affirmative, I mean to avoid terms such as "no child left behind" because the mind turns this into "child left behind" automatically. If you tell someone to: don't think about the glass. The mind subconsciously ends up with " think about the glass".

Anyone have any good thoughts on reframes?