RE: Civility - RE: Resistance and speaking out

From: Cunningham, Donald J. (
Date: Sat Jan 29 2005 - 17:21:51 PST

Tony Whitson asks "Why doesn't Bill Moyers behave more like Bill
O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh?"


I strongly recommend a book by George Lakoff "don't think of an




From the book cover:


Don't Think of An Elephant! is the antidote to the last forty years of
conservative strategizing and the right wing's stranglehold on political
dialogue in the United States.

Author George Lakoff explains how conservatives think, and how to
counter their arguments. He outlines in detail the traditional American
values that progressives hold, but are often unable to articulate.
Lakoff also breaks down the ways in which conservatives have framed the
issues, and provides examples of how progressives can reframe the

Lakoff's years of research and work with environmental and political
leaders have been distilled into this essential guide, which shows
progressives how to think in terms of values instead of programs, and
why people vote their values and identities, often against their best

Don't Think of an Elephant! is the definitive handbook for understanding
and communicating effectively about key issues in the 2004 election, and

Read it, take action-and help take America back



Don Cunningham

Indiana University


From: Tony Whitson []
Sent: Saturday, January 29, 2005 8:04 PM
Subject: Civility - RE: Resistance and speaking out


Among the many compelling concerns raised by Jay and David is the matter
of civility. I don't often think about that and I don't know how to
think about it, but it clearly is important.


The thread started in reaction to Spellings' attack on a TV episode
about a family of maple sugerers headed by two moms.


Spellings invoked the fact that the episode would embroil the program in
controversy as justification for withdrawing it, since "Many parents
would not want their young children exposed to the lifestyles portrayed
in the episode."


There's a piece in today's Boston Globe (at
_radical/ )

that concludes, "Of course, many parents would not want their children
exposed to Muslim, evangelical Christian, or Mormon families, all of
which Buster has encountered in past episodes. Should those parents get
to shape our children's understanding?"


I think the family Buster visited in Texas was involved with Rodeos. I
think there are a lot of people who would regard aspects of that culture
-- or, for another example, the culture of dehumanizing brutalization
that is seen in some military situations and can lead to things like
what happened at Abu Graib -- as no less objectionable than the families
with same-sex parents are seen to be by those that Spelling is pandering


If the bare fact of CONTROVERSY is grounds for suppressing
representation, then if we all behaved like the radical right, and
insisted that the things we find objectionable must not be seen on
television, then Spellings' could not use that justification so


But the rest of us do not behave like the radical right.


Why doesn't Bill Moyers behave more like Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh?
It's impossible to imagine, isn't it? It's partly a matter of
disposition -- who would want to be like that? -- are we even capable of
that way of being if we concluded that it makes sense strategically? But
partly it's also that we don't believe in that manner of public conduct.


Still, as Jay is pointing out, this sensibility puts us at a


Again, I don't know how to think about this, but I thank Jay and David
for forcing me to try thinking about it.

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