Setting the Narrative in Politics and Defining the Future

One of my business mentors once told me that “to win” you must be the first to establish the argument (setting the opposition up to be on the defensive), to choose the terminology (so that they are using your words as defined by you), and to keep the dialog going until you get the answer or resolution you want (even if that is just establishing the narrative the way you want it to read in the future).

I have seen this play out time and again in the business and academic realms, and I am now seeing it play out on a national level in politics. So, from this point forward, I refuse to use terminology that is misleading and that softens the actual events that have occurred.

Words have Meaning.
Statements have Consequences.

This means that EVERY time I see a new incident citing “alternative facts” or outright falsehoods, I will repost it with the words “This is a LIE.” because I refuse to promote the use of terms that will lead to confusion in the future or the softening of the seriousness of what has been done/said.

One example of this is the use of the term Obamacare. There is nothing called Obamacare. There is no law or statute that says Obamacare. This is a term that the Republicans concocted and it has negative connotations because there are a lot of people who do not like the idea of the government providing assistance to the poor, they don’t like the idea of a black man being President, and they don’t like feeling as if they are “paying” for someone else’s healthcare. The result is that Obamacare makes a large number of people upset and they want it repealed.

48853031 - stock imgage doctor in surgery examining little girlHowever, the Affordable Care Act is much more well received. It’s a positive term. It makes people feel like they have a realistic health plan alternative, it makes them feel like the recipient is paying for the health care and not just leaching off of the government, and it makes people feel like their existing health issues will not go untreated if they have to change insurance providers.

Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are the same thing. One is positive and one is negative. The Republicans had a big meeting to discuss how to dismantle Obamacare and to tie it’s demise to the Democrats. They also agreed to keep the negatives of Obamacare in the public eye so that the Republicans didn’t get tied to the loss or dismantling of the Affordable Care Act because that would look bad for the Republican Party. You’ll notice that they talk about repealing Obamacare and replacing the Affordable Care Act with something better. It’s a very subtle manipulation of words and meanings. This keeps the negative/Democrat/Obamacare words together while also pairing the positive/Republican/Affordable Care Act words together.

12748301 - green and red hands

This is just one example of how the Republicans have been masterful in defining the arguments and the terminology in our current political sphere. They are doing the same thing with “Alternative Facts.” So, regardless of WHO is making up false terminology and facts, I am going to call them on it because I am choosing to put Nation above Party in this instance and I do not want false narratives to continue to take root because a year or two from now, many people won’t remember what was real or false without looking it up.

So, please, help me in ending the term Obamacare and help me by posting the word “lie” when you repost notes that include “alternative facts”… because they aren’t a true alternative. They are false.

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One Response to Setting the Narrative in Politics and Defining the Future

  1. Happy Sayre-McCord says:

    Great post, Erin! Words and statements to live by. You are well on your way to killing it on the campaign trail! If you succeed with winning along the premise of the first paragraph every time, you will be unvanquishable! Since words DO matter, I’m wondering if “Nation” is the word you want. It seems that some of its more negative historical connotations are being advanced right now. “People over Party” has nice alliteration, but I’m not sure that adequately conveys what you want either — too not a collective noun. Personally, I feel the loss of the idea of “the greater good” — that this is a higher, best-in-the-long-run ideal than our own individual self-interest — is a great deal of what is wrong with our politics and our country right now. So “Nation” does invoke that. I also see too often that “Country” stands in for a lot of 1950s crap among a segment of our fellow Americans. So I’m searching for a word that stands for all (ALL) of us collectively together, that isn’t either nation or country — which are something beyond the people who make it up, but remembers that it is composed of those people. I wonder what word(s) Mr Obama used for this concept ….? love, and thanks for a great start to the day, Happy >

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