Why Even Republicans Loved Obama's State of the Union
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President Obama, in this speech, created what cognitive scientists call a “prototype” — an ideal American defined by a contemporary progressive vision that incorporates a progressive market with individual opportunity and initiative. It envisions an ideal citizenry that is in charge of the government, forcing the president and the Congress to do the right thing.
That is how the president has changed public discourse. He has changed it at the level that counts, the deepest level, the moral level. What can make that change persist? What will allow such an ideal citizenry to come into existence?
The president can’t do it. Congress can’t do it. Only we can as citizens, by adopting the president’s vision, thinking in his moral frames, and speaking out from that vision whenever possible. Speaking out is at the heart of being a citizen, speaking out is political action, and only if an overwhelming number of us speak out, and live out, this American vision, will the president and the Congress be forced to do what is best for all.
By all means, discuss the policies. Praise them when you like them, criticize them when they fall short. Don’t hold back. Talk in public. Write to others. But be sure to make clear the basic principles behind the policies.
And don’t use the language of the other side, even to negate it. Remember that if you say “Don’t Think of an Elephant,” people will think of an elephant.
Structure is important. Start with the general principles, move to policy details, finish with the general principles.