Saturday, March 13, 2004

Weekend inspiration

Such a joy to come across these wonderful pieces on line. I do appreciate the spot-on commentary about various news items and links that I think characterize most poli-blogs. But what I fall in love with are the process comments, the big picture views by writers who even offer a bit of their own mapmaking for us to ponder about and enjoy.

Some recent ones in the last few weeks that really made me stop in my tracks are these:
from Stirling Newberry. Getting past the 'bloggability' idea, consider these thoughts on using language:
    The Republican Party uses speaking in tongues - using code words which have different meanings to different audiences. Bush can be for square in favor of "a humble foreign policy". To the east and west coast - humble means playing well with others. To the religious radio audience, it means being the instrument of God, with a capital "G", on earth. Hence, one can be strongly in favor of two mutually contradictory positions.
And continuing on, this:
    This means that candidates, if they want to tap the internet, are going to have to learn the art of not taking sides on issues - especially not both sides - but, instead, take leadership on solutions. Find the real problem, state that your position is to attack the root cause of the problem. Turn every wedge issue back on the root problem. It works in the world of the blog because, as Chris Lydon keeps reminding people, the blog world is Emerson's Democracy, a city of people who write, speak, and read - at length. In this Emersonian Democracy, Thoreau's observation "there are a thousand who beat at the branches for everyone that strikes at the root" is close to a religion. And someone who does so, for as long as they are doing so, is at the center of the blog sphere.

from Bill Scher on examples of successful frames
from Dave Johnson on understanding successful marketing messages
from Jeff Alworth, especially this last:
    The solution is, of course, already underway: separating the association between "conservative" and "moral." This happens partly organically, because the White House is such an obviously immoral, corrupt regime; but also, thanks to Howard Dean and John Edwards, the Democrats are finally starting to talk morality again. One of the most important challenges facing the Dems over the next 8 months is in hitching "moral" not to vague concepts, but public policy. Pulling morality out of the gray zone of dewy-eyed patriotism and religiosity and putting it back on actions and policies is the only way to escape this brutal trap. Ironically, that will require a modernist approach--emphasizing the reliability of objective fact over morally-informed opinion. Post-post-modernism?

from this recent Kevin Hayden piece:
    Kerry gets it. He's perfectly correct in calling attention to the lies of the GOP attack machine. The only misstep he made was calling it 'scary.' It was scary once, when the doll was new and effective. But its impact started wearing off a year ago. Its teeth have fallen out and it's missing an eye and most Americans are looking for a wastebin to dump it in.

    'Faith' and 'Family' have multiple definitions, as does 'Leadership'. Opportunities for economic advancement, affordable healthcare, retirement without hardship and a committed defense against enemies are the moral and achievable goals of a serious leader. Trampling on families and a broad spectrum of faiths while peeking into America's bedrooms are the worn-out goals of an Old Chatty pile of plastic who no longer has anything new to offer.

    That's the reality of the GOP attack machine. It only looks scary because it hasn't evolved past a jerky loop on an 8-track tape. But Kerry's composing a song of the possibilities we can aspire to, work for and accomplish. The more Kerry points this out, the greater the mandate he'll get when November rolls around. Strength and morality and opportunity are not things we can toy with. They are the soul of America clamoring for the chance to rise to a new era of achievement that only a real leader like Kerry can unlock.

Finally from P. Z. Myers, presenting this luminous Vedic piece which I enthusiastically emailed to all my friends. I had to post the link somewhere on this site.

These should all be published in print somewhere. And I'm absolutely sure I missed many other gems.

This is not just about replenishing the inner reservoir. It's also about increasing our communication: how to get messages across, how to reframe ideas more effectively, what other factors to focus on, so on. It's about continuing the dialogue. Be inspired. Think. And do continue the discussion with others you see. Engage your family, friends, neighbors, strangers.