Twelve traps to avoid #1

Stephen LaFrenie

Taken from the article by Dr. Lakoff’s entitled "Thinking Points". Found here as in my previous blog post. I plan to address them one at a time in order to make each blog entry short and specific.

or here for the whole article which can be downloaded for free and is well worth the read.

“1. The Issue Trap. We hear it said all the time: Progressives won’t unite behind any set of ideas. We all have different ideas and care about different issues. The truth is that progressives do agree at the level of values and that there is a real basis for progressive unity. Progressive values cut across issues. So do principles and forms of argument. Conservatives argue conservatism, no matter what the issue. Progressives should argue progressivism. We need to get out of issue silos that isolate arguments and keep us from the values and principles that define an overall progressive vision.”

The Green Party needs to avoid this trap but is struggling. We need to express unity when it comes to Green values but not be afraid to debate the means of how to achieve those values. One of the things that impressed me about Jim Harris when I first listened to him speak was the manner in which he connected various issues and elements together within the context of single shared values rooted in the concept of “Quality of Life”. The movement is on to establish the one main issue of the next election and Greens need to avoid it and stick to the core values. When Canadians come to realize that Green values consistently reflect core Canadian values they will begin to trust us with the responsibility of finding solutions to various individual issues. The environment has not replaced health as a number one priority to Canadians. They were forced to answer the question that way. I remember answering poll research questions last year. They asked me what my priorities were and when I gave several priorities equal relevance the response was this, “Okay I understand Mr. LaFrenie but I don’t have a category for that answer.” It’s deceptive. Do any Green candidates out there really believe that a person living in a community still plagued by gang violence that they all of a sudden no longer fear their children being shot but are now concerned with global warming? Of course they haven’t. What core values represent this person still? They’re concern is safe, livable, communities through community investment is what this person needs to hear from us. How we achieve this is of lesser concern than the trust that we actually believe it and will pursue it. Affordable housing, access to post secondary education, community centers, these are the things that will affect the future of the community and make it safer and break down the sense of hopelessness that makes gangs, violence and crime so magnetic, not attractive, magnetic. The gang mentality, crime, violence draws young people who are not anchored to the community for various reasons that differ from person to person. Stronger communities reduce this pull by offering a stronger pull in the opposite direction. Oh yeah, global warming? We believe that affordable housing should be energy efficient, sustainable and that communities should have access to services and local markets fostering small businesses that invest in and draw their support from the community. This contributes to the many multiple micro solutions to global warming.

But if you talk to this person and this community about global warming as an "issue" and then they listen to a Conservative talk to them about cracking down on crime, they will vote conservative even if they have doubts about the conservative solution to crime.

This blog reflects my personal opinion.
It is not official Green Party Policy.