Government & Politics | July 18, 2005
E-Mail to Democratic Activists & a Posting in "GordonTalk"
Response to an Article about "Framing"
Issues in General
Another about "Framing" the Abortion
Issue in Particular
America, one of the oldest "frames", if you will, is
"Give me Liberty or give me death." No war, for
example, is ever "sold" unless it is framed in terms
of defending liberty: For that, and probably that alone, will
Americans kill and die. Liberty is more important than life
itself, in the best and oldest American traditions.
be a "consumer" word, but "liberty"
or "freedom" is a values -- a quintessentially
American -- word.
freedom" or "reproductive rights" are,
thus, better phrases than "reproductive
choice"; and these terms indeed frame broader
issues for women (and men, for that matter, as in parental
however, the best "selling point" for any issue is
the truth of the matter: It ultimately trumps all other frames
(assuming the press and public discussion remain free and
vigorous). One need look no farther than the current Valerie
Plame mess, which is unraveling and backfiring on the
Administration with each revelation of the facts, regardless
of how they try to frame the scandal to their own
advantage (Those RNC talking points [being circulated are]...in the best traditions of "the best
defense is a good offense"; but of course and
happily, the strategy doesn't seem to be working for the
Bush Administration any more than it did for the Nixon
the case of abortions -- and although that word is ugly and
unpopular, to avoid it entirely is to play into the hands of
the anti-abortion forces (the word can become conspicuous by
its absence, as in "are you ashamed to even mention it by
name?") -- the truth of the matter is the balancing of
the rights of the mother with those of the baby, from the
point at which the fetus does indeed become a person
with rights equal to those of the mother.
who support "reproductive rights" do not truly
believe that we are "baby killers". That is the key
argument with which the moderate voters must grapple, even
though it is extremely personal and uncomfortable.
scientific facts of life are incontrovertible (and, thus, have
been accepted by virtually every moderate with whom I have
shared them): The neurological connections required for truly
human thought, feeling, and awareness (the essence of
the "soul" in most people's theology) do not develop
in the fetal brain until the 28th week of pregnancy.
Terminating a pregnancy in the first two trimesters is, thus, no
more murder than "pulling the plug" (a flip phrase
to use very sparingly) on someone who is "brain
dead". Reassuring those who would not want to overturn
established precedent simply because it is indeed established
precedent, Roe v. Wade came to virtually the same conclusion,
although from different, older reasoning (considerations of
"viability", which are more a matter of technology
than human nature -- God-given human nature, if you will, as
discovered by the God-given talents of medical researchers).
bumper sticker form, "Brain Life is Human Life"; or
in longer but better framed terms, "We Democrats support
and defend the reproductive rights of women; we
support and defend the freedoms of every person, from
the moment their mind first awakens to the moment
their mind thinks its last thought."
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