A Dignitarian Manifesto

When it comes to politics, new language and new thinking are different things. Whatever new language progressives used in 2004 failed to change the electoral outcome, and at most it'll help them eke out a few victories in the coming years. New language is like changing the window treatment, not the window, not the view, not the perspective.

What's required for social change, and it could come from either party, is the kind of political realignment we get once every 50 years. Such realignment pulls a sizeable majority from the vast non-ideological, sensible middle of the political spectrum, and creates a real mandate for fundamental social change. Like those that FDR and LBJ presided over. Like the universal health care and campaign finance reform that we need now.

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Dignity--A Unifying Value for American Politics

Both political parties know that a unifying core value expressed in a pithy slogan translates into votes. FDR's Democrats had "The New Deal"; LBJ's party advanced "The Great Society." Republicans rally to "lower taxes,""smaller government,""strong defense," and "family values."

What core value, what slogan, could move us beyond the toxic standoff that paralyzes American politics today?

The answer lies in a single word--Dignity.

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A Framework for Progressive Values

For years now, progressives have lamented the apparent monopoly that the Right has on framing the public debate.  There have been a variety of attempts to remedy this situation, from books like George Lakoff's Don't Think of an Elephant, to blogs like Jeffrey Feldman's Frame Shop.  This is an important discussion, and vital to the future success of progressive ideas.  At The Opportunity Agenda we'd like to offer our own contribution to this effort.

We have outlined a frame that we believe can promote progressive ideas and recapture our national values discussion from the Right.  We call it the Opportunity Frame.  In collaboration with The SPIN Project, we have produced a communications toolkit that outlines this frame and provides concrete tools and case studies to help implement it.  Click here to read American Opportunity: A Communications Toolkit, or continue reading about this frame and take our poll after the jump.

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Arts & Democracy--the good news

Perfect reading on a Saturday. Okay, maybe the arts don't seem like the most important issue of the day in a time of war . . . but let's not forget that the arts are essential to democracy--as a realm of political dissent, critical thinking, free expression, citizen journalism, even the exploration of science. All of these issues are explored in this cool new series. Check it out . . .

DemocraticVistas Profiles: Essays in the Arts and Democracy

http://artspolicy.colum.edu/DVProfiles.h tml

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